Health Team

Hula hooping gets hips moving, heart pumping

Posted April 4, 2011 5:47 p.m. EDT
Updated April 4, 2011 6:20 p.m. EDT

Hula hooping is the one of the latest fitness crazes to sweep the nation, but its health benefits were generally unknown – until now.

A study by the American Council on Exercise found that hula hooping improves cardiovascular health, muscle tone and flexibility. It's the first time a study has focused on hula hooping.

"It's very important to find as many ways as we can find to exercise because there is a strong correlation between interest and enjoyment and actual commitment to an exercise program," said Stephen Horney, a physical therapist at NY SportsMed & Physical Therapy in New York City. 

The study found that one hour of hula hooping burned an average of 420 calories.

"It was nice to see it did elicit a burn that was similar to many common exercise routines," Horney said.

These results are validation for Gabriella Redding, the owner of Hoopnotica in Venice, Calif., which offers classes that incorporate dance moves and hooping on every part of the body.

"Most people are like, 'Hula hooping can really help you lose weight?' You know, I lost 70 pounds hula hooping," Redding said.