Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hooping for Joy

Actually, that isn’t misspelled.  Hooping, the lost art of hula hooping, do you remember doing it as a child?  I’m in an ongoing search for exercise that brings me joy and puts to use multiple parts of the body in different ways.  My latest discovery is hooping.
It began with a standard kids hula hoop, which I watched fall to the floor with numbing speed over and over again.   Not to be deterred from this exercise that would not only work the hips, and abdominal muscles, but benefit all the nearby organs, I began looking on the internet and learned that when you’re not a kid anymore, you need a weighted hula hoop that is bigger.  They move slower!!!  Really, they move slower so those of us who don’t have the hip action we did as youngsters, in a day or two, can actually keep the thing up for half a minute or more. 
It gets better.  Once I could keep it up for a little bit I looked to the video I’d gotten and saw that walking around was the next feat to undertake.  Before long, I began practicing with my mp3 player tucked into a place on my upper body (wires hanging on the torso are a problem).  My delight increased, and so did my skill.  Running, turning, grapevine steps (these aren’t really strong yet), walking backwards, a twist of the hip in the direction of spin and then a quick snap back to the opposite produces a nice effect.  Next – this is my own innovation, I figured out that if I took the hoop in my hands, with the greatest spread of my arms I could achieve, the hoop became a great mechanism for stretching.  Do you find stretching boring?  I don’t always, but sometimes I definitely do.  Try taking that hoop with arms spread wide, now move.  Your whole body.  Run, turn, spin, bend, hold the hoop to one side, move it to the other, all the while dancing.  If you get a good position with a deep stretch, be still, but let the music move you on the inside.  Your stillness will become part of the dance.  After a few more days, add wrist weights to the stretching part of your session.  And you will have a lovely work out.  If you love moving as I do, you will have a way to work out that is nothing short of Joy expressing itself.  Yes, for the Joy of Hooping!!!

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