Want swiveling hips like a Hawaiian native? Whip out that grass skirt, turn on the ocean sounds CD, dust off that hula hoop, and say “Aloha” to a fun aerobic workout.

Hoop, There It Is! - The Need-to-Know

Hula hooping has been used as a form of exercise since ancient Greece and, just like toga parties and red wine, it's not going away anytime soon. Hula hooping provides a full body aerobic workout that burns a whopping (whoop?) 7 calories per minute, or 210 calories for every 30 minutes of hip-swiveling action. Hooping works the back, abdomen, arms, and legs, all while earning some serious style points. And recent studies showed the lower limb coordination required to keep a hoop horizontal also engaged the easily-ignored abductors, knees, and ankles Kinetics of hula hooping: an inverse dynamics analysis. Cluff T., Robertson, D.G., Balasubramaniam, R. School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Human Movement Science. 2008 Aug;27(4):622-35.. Not too shabby for a playground staple.

Lord Of The Ring - Your Action Plan

Mastering the hoop isn't quite as easy as "stand and spin," but a little practice goes a long way. Place the ring just below the waist and hold the hoop with both hands, resting it against the lower back. Place one leg slightly in front of the other, gently toss the hoop either way, and begin rotating the hips back and forth Elvis Presley style to keep the hoop rocking, not rolling. The smaller the hula hoop, the harder it is to maintain the necessary momentum. If the standard twirl isn't enough, try spinning it around the waist, legs, arms, chest, or ankles for some circus-worthy tricks, or make things more challenging by using a weighted hula hoop. Due to their versatility, hoops are even making appearances in group fitness classes like yoga and pilates (hoopilates!). A word of caution: hooping generates some pretty intense speeds, so be sure there's ample free space before shaking it. And please leave the fire and lions to Barnum and Bailey.

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