Hula hooping isn’t just for kids

Fifties fad is full-blown fitness routine

hula hoop spins around Kimberly Smith's waist

Hula hooping isn’t just for kids – adults benefit, too!

If you’ve been out to an Austin park or event recently, you may have seen them. Hula hoops. But it’s not just kids that are using them.

Hula hooping for adults is booming in Austin, and there’s a good reason. It’s great exercise and it’s fun, according to Kimberly Smith, a health educator with ADC’s Weight and Health Risk Management department, as well as an avid hula hooper.

“The American Council on Exercise did a study, and they found it burns an average of 420 calories per hour,” Smith said.

The key is all in the hoop size. Smith says forget the small ones made for kids that you find in many stores. Adults need larger hoops – especially beginners.

What to look for

You can buy adult-sized hula hoops through online specialty stores or you can make it yourself with PVC pipe and wrap it with electrical tape. Smith says to look for hoops that can reach at least belly button level from the floor.

Once you get your hoop, you can teach yourself or take a local class. A number of classes are available in Austin.

“Austin has a huge hoop community, and we have all sorts of events that happen all the time — every week almost,” Smith said.

It’s also a great activity to do with your kids. They can learn on larger hoops or lighter smaller ones found in toy stores.

“It’s a fun way to get exercise, and you can play with your kids,” Smith said. “It’s like being a kid again, and that’s what I love about it.”