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Do weighted hula hoops provide a good workout, or are they just a gimmick?
Answer From Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.
Weighted hula hoops can be a good addition to your exercise program, especially if you're able to hula hoop for at least 10 minutes at a time. In fact, any type of hula hooping, using a weighted hula hoop or a regular hula hoop, can help you meet your exercise goals and provide aerobic activity. And it can be fun!
Weighted hula hoops are bigger and heavier than are traditional hula hoops. You can use a weighted hula hoop as part of an overall fitness program to add variety to your workouts or simply as a fun way to get more active.
Hula hooping can provide similar results to other types of aerobic activities, such as dancing — including salsa, hula, belly and swing dancing. On average, women can burn about 165 calories in 30 minutes of hula hooping, and men can burn about 200 calories in 30 minutes of hula hooping.
Keep in mind that for most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activity. Aim to do muscle-training activities at least twice a week.
If you try a weighted hula hoop, use a hula hoop that's the right size for you. The hoop should reach somewhere between your waist and midchest when it's resting vertically on the ground.
The weight of the hoop is up to you. The smaller and lighter the hoop, the more energy it takes to keep the hoop going. But the bigger and heavier the hoop, the easier it is to keep going, which means you may be able to do it for a longer period of time. You can experiment with different hoops to see which kind and size you prefer.
Weighted hula hoops are available at many sporting goods stores and online retailers and even at some fitness clubs.
Check with your doctor before using any kind of hula hoop if you have medical concerns, especially a history of back problems. And as with any physical activity, stop hula hooping and consult your doctor if you develop pain or other symptoms.