A year or so ago my daughter, Emma, came to visit. She’d only been here for a day when she started whinging that she was missing her hula hoop.
I rolled my eyes and said we could go trawl the shops and find her a hoop (thinking to myself what kind of nonsense is this – being addicted to hula hooping).
She sighed, then remarked that we would not be buying a hoop – we would be making one.
So off we went to the hardware store and bought all the necessary paraphernalia to make a couple of different hoops. I looked at the roll of five metres of irrigation pipe… how many hoops can you make out of that then – two or three?
Just one – she replied.
Opened my mouth to argue but the look in her beady blue eye told me to shut the hell up as I had no idea what I was talking about.
I was flat out busy organising a conference at the time so took myself off to my office and left the business of hula hoop making to Emma.
When I emerged a few hours later I was amazed to see a circus creature dancing on our lawn.
The general misconception is that hula hooping is for kids. You see those little hoops for sale in the stores and don’t even give them a second glance. Yet there was my child (okay, she’s 25 but she’s a tiny skinny little thing) rocking this enormous hoop – taller than she was.
Doing tricks nogal!
I watched in amazement. She was so good at it. Flipping that huge hoop around and about. So graceful.
Here, she said. Have a go.
It looked so easy.
I grabbed the hoop and waggled madly. It plummeted to the earth. I tried again. And again… and again.
Hmmm… handed the hoop back to Emma – hula hooping is not for me.
Don’t be a wuz Mom, the nasty little weasel scoffed. She took the hoop and demonstrated where my feet should be and how I should stand up straight, shoulders down, tummy tucked in tight.
I had another go. Then stomped back up to my office in disgust. Next morning I noticed there were bruises on my ribs. I was horrified but according to Emma, this was perfectly normal.
It took me two weeks to get that wretched hoop to stay around my middle. And there was none of that graceful hand thing either – rigid dinosaur paws more like it.
Gradually I relaxed and let it flow. Fudgie (the dog) and Ralph (the cat) could stand under the hoop without getting clonked on the head every few seconds. (They consider this a new form of play.)
One day I hauled out a skirt that had gone from being loose and comfy to a tad on the tight side. Zipped it up and immediately noticed that the squidgy bits of body that used to hang over the sides of the skirt had considerably diminished. In fact, it looked halfway decent again.
Realised that I must have sneakily lost a centimetre or two.
I’m not a gym person – have never set foot in one and don’t plan to either. Can’t do yoga because Fudge thinks I’m playing with her and running would surely make my heart attack me. I like walking – but not uphill. The best exercise I’ve come across to date is rebounding – or jumping on my mini-trampoline. That’s great for building leg muscle and toning your butt!
I was totally delighted. Just when I’d resigned myself to being 52 years old and taking up more space in the world than I’d ever done before – here was a magical way of doing something about it.
In my own yard and in my own time!
And let’s be honest – it’s not like I’d been doing it all day every day either – maybe 10 minutes a day in several small sessions.
Emma smirked. See – hula hooping is not just for kids. It’s a great exercise.
Gave her the evil eye – right – now show me how to make these flabby arms not-so-flabby in time for the conference.
She gulped – the conference was less than two weeks away. She demonstrated some arm crunches and stretches. Three sets of those – three times a day. Get going, Mom!
My eyes lit up – I envisaged going to the conference with nice firm, brown arms – you can’t help but get tanned whilst hooping outside. (Of course, it rained almost the whole conference and my half-toned, tanned arms never even saw the light of day.)
Emma was here for two months. In that time I shaped up – lost a couple of kilos plus a good couple of centimetres around my middle and upper body. My arms look better than they have done in years my back has those nice muscly bits. I have improved my posture no end.
Last year our dog was sick and I had to lug all 29kg’s of Fattie Fudges up the stairs to my office – I could do it – thanks to hula hooping and strengthening my core muscles.
I now hula around the grass each day. It’s a great way to relax, have fun and keep in shape at the same time.
And it’s not just for ladies either – Chris, my husband, is also busy mastering the art.
The big hoops are great for toning up and losing centimetres – but if you want to lose more weight the smaller hoops are better – because you expend more energy keeping it up. However, the kid’s hoops that you buy in the shops are good for doing tricks, but are too light for weight loss – you need a heavier larger hoop.
It’s really easy to make your own hoop too! Not expensive either.
I even managed to sneak into the South African Book Fair by promising to read Sibo in Space while hula hooping in my giant space ship.
If you want the hoop making recipe… read here.