Hula Hoop For A Firm Midriff – A Midlife Crisis

The Battle of the Bulge was the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II.  It is also a term widely and flippantly used to describe the efforts needed to combat the obvious onset of midlife, namely the burgeoning waist.

Most women who have had children will have engaged in some form of "core toning" programme in their post baby years but as if that is not enough, along comes midlife and the menopause and it starts all over again - a midriff crisis if you like.

On the positive side though, whilst we can't change nature, we can lessen the impact.  Keeping active is the single most important thing we can do to make sure we keep our metabolic rates up which as we know helps to burn off those calories which simply get tougher to shift as we age.  Yes it is harder as we get older but a sedentary lifestyle is ill advised.

Walking is free and easy and 10,000 steps per day is the recommended target.  My FitBit rarely leaves my wrist even if just to act as a reminder to how lazy I have been that day and because sometimes 10,000 steps doesn't always happen, it forces me to compensate the following day.

We can also train our abdominal muscles in readiness for the fattening of our midriff with exercises that focus more on the obliques, which will help to tighten up our waists and thus lessen the pending androgynous look which sees our waists thicken in old age.  A fun way to do this is with a Hula Hoop.

The 1950's is widely associated as the period when the world went hooping crazy but actually it can be tracked even further back than that, when believe it or not it was a popular pastime of Greek and Roman men.

So what are the benefits?

  • The art of twirling the hoop will strengthen and tone all your abdominal muscles in one go and there are few exercises that can claim that.
  • The recommended minimum in order to see concrete results is 10 minutes per day, but believe me it is addictive and once you get going you won't want to stop. If you can manage 30 minutes a day, 3-4 times a week you should notice a dramatic difference in around 4 weeks.
  • Hula Hooping is also aerobic which of course means your stamina will improve and you will burn calories.   A 30 minute workout will see you not only burn anything up to 250 calories but also drop inches around your waist.
  • As with any exercise, incorporating weights will add a greater resistance to the workout and strengthen and tone the abs more, so go for a weighted hoop.  I have a circus hoop which is around 40 inches and weighs about 1.5kg.

Getting started is the hardest bit by far, even if you did hoop endlessly as a child, but for me I found that the Forward Stance  was the most effective to begin with.

It is natural to assume you need to swirl the hoop around in a circle by simply swinging your hips in a circular motion but this doesn't work.  You actually need to position your feet hip width apart, place one slightly in front of the other, tuck your pelvis under, place the hoop around your waist and then after a quick move counter clockwise you shift your weight forwards and backwards to maintain the hoop's momentum.

I have to say, however, this seems to be an easier move for women than men as both males in my house failed terribly at getting the hoop to circle without lurching back and forth.

Once you have mastered this there are many exercises online that can help you to vary your routine and work harder to increase your heart rate if you want to.  Occasionally I will also hold hand weights and try to keep my arms at shoulder height to strengthen and tone my arms at the same time as I twirl.

I have dabbled with my Hula Hoop on and off over the last couple of years and have always been surprised at how much firmer I feel afterwards - if somewhat bruised on the hip bones!

It is a cheap and relatively easy exercise and to keep me motivated I leave my hoop propped in the kitchen and the teens will often find me waiting for the supper to cook, watching the evening news and indulging in some mindless hooping!  It has also been known to come into its own at parties - it's surprising how competitive grown adults can get after a few drinks.

Have you tried hooping? Do you have any great hooping exercises that work for you or do you have any other great ways of toning up your midriff?

Editors Note : This post has been updated since first published.  

 

 

 

 

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44 Comments

  1. October 16, 2017 / 3:04 pm

    I love the sound of this Jo but I do find it a bit tricky. I’ve have a spinal fusion and so the ‘rotation’ aspect can be a bit tricky. We used to have loads of hula hoops in the garage when the girls were younger, I may dig them out and give it another go. Anything that makes exercise fun is a good thing! xx #TweensTeensBeyond

    • October 17, 2017 / 9:39 am

      I think it is probably not the best exercise for you then Sharon as rotating is definitely a big part of it. #TweensTeensBeyond

  2. October 13, 2017 / 12:01 pm

    i’m getting out of breath just thinking about doing this. i tend to keep fit by constantly doing things for other people and i do tend to walk alot although i don’t count the number of steps i do #tweensteensbeyond

    • October 17, 2017 / 9:40 am

      It is deceptively tiring Suzanne that is for sure. Walking is a great form of exercise though and it sounds like you are constantly on the go. #TweensTeensBeyond

  3. October 12, 2017 / 8:51 am

    I can totally see the sense in this – yet I have never been a successful hula hooper. I think once round was my best shot! I wonder if it’s worth another go or whether I was always meant to just stand in it. What fun though, Jo! #tweensteensbeyond

    • October 17, 2017 / 9:42 am

      Always worth another go Nicky! I found it was best not to think about what I was doing too much as well as then I would lose all sense of rhythm. #TweensTeensBeyond

  4. October 11, 2017 / 6:27 pm

    I’m not a mom but certainly could use some toning of my middle. Something I’ll keep in mind when nobody is home, we have a hula hoop in the garage #TTB

    • October 17, 2017 / 9:43 am

      I have to say watching my hubby and son do it was hilarious. Let me know if you ever do give it a whirl! Excuse the pun. #TweensTeensBeyond

  5. October 11, 2017 / 2:07 pm

    I have never been able to hula hoop but it sounds like the sort of exercise I need to do for my core. Low impact too! I really ought to look into this. #TeensTweensBeyond

    • October 17, 2017 / 9:44 am

      Yes low impact core exercise ticks my boxes too although you would be surprised how tiring it does get. #TweensTeensBeyond

  6. Midlife Dramas in Pyjamas
    October 11, 2017 / 12:56 pm

    This sounds a great way to exercise. I’m currently doing the gym and swimming, but seem to be putting ON weight rather than losing it. And by weight I mean the flab you can see, not the flab you’ve turned into muscle which weighs heavier!! #TweensTeensBeyond

    • October 17, 2017 / 9:46 am

      Well done you for doing all that. I have heard others say that when they first start out on an exercise programme they put on weight and then it levels out – onwards and upwards! Good luck with it all. #TweensTeensBeyond

  7. October 10, 2017 / 9:27 pm

    My interest in hula hoops is normally limited to the ring-shaped snacks but maybe I shall have to try this as part of my new fitness regime 🙂 I think we might even still have a couple of sparkly hula hoops that once belonged to youngest daughter … #tweensteensbeyond
    Mary Mayfield recently posted…Running away from zombiesMy Profile

    • October 17, 2017 / 9:47 am

      It is surprising how many people seem to have a stash of old hoops in the garage from their daughters’ younger years. I am partial to the hula hoop snack too. #TweensTeensBeyond

  8. October 10, 2017 / 8:15 pm

    My daughter is fab at this and I’m a real fail! #TweensTeensBeyond

    • October 17, 2017 / 9:47 am

      Don’t give up! You never know you might just crack it one day. #TweensTeensBeyond

  9. October 10, 2017 / 6:41 pm

    My friend started a hula hoop class near me and it’s really popular! They meet at the local park and I just thought, what a fabulous idea! Looks fun! Thanks for sharing! #tweensteensbeyond

    • October 17, 2017 / 9:48 am

      Oh I am jealous. You would have thought there would be one in London but I haven’t found one yet. Let me know if you give it a go. #TweensTeensBeyond

  10. sharon brison
    October 10, 2017 / 6:30 pm

    An Aunt of mine uses a hoop and it really does work. I keep saying i will get one to get rid of my middle bit, however its still at the thinking stage. I remember though when she first started using it she ended up really bruised around the middle but eventually it cleared up as she got used to it.#TweensTeensBeyond

    • October 17, 2017 / 9:50 am

      Yes the bruises are quite something at the beginning until you get the hang of it. You do have to keep up with the hooping though or everything goes to pot quite quickly. I have been a bit lazy recently for sure. #TweensTeensBeyond

  11. October 10, 2017 / 5:20 pm

    I’ve recently started walking as part of my core fitness routine and I am close to 5000 steps a day for now. Hula Hooping sounds fun although I doubt I can actually do it! Perhaps I should give it a go. You’re right about not being sedentary! It is such a precursor to bad health.
    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…Power of Silence: How it can empower your lifeMy Profile

    • October 17, 2017 / 9:50 am

      Oh well done you. Walking is such great exercise. I do one big walk every week and it really makes a difference to my mood and sense of fitness.

  12. August 2, 2016 / 11:21 pm

    Ooh yes I used to do this long ago & it is really good! I haven’t had a hula hoop or anywhere to use one in a very long time now, but when I used to do wii fit, I used to do the hula hooping on there & even that was actually hard work & effective. #BloggerClubUK

    • August 9, 2016 / 5:47 pm

      Oh yes I had forgotten there was that option on Wii Fit will have to check it out again – it may help me vary my routine. Thanks for that. #BloggerClubUK

  13. Andreea
    July 29, 2016 / 7:34 pm

    I have not tried this yet, but I’m usually up for anything new when it comes to fitness. I know it’s great fun and I will definitely add it to my list of things to do. The only problem I have with this is that it requires yet another thing to be bought and stored in the house / garden.
    #BloggerClubUK

    • August 9, 2016 / 5:46 pm

      I know what you mean on the storage front but you can buy some hoops that come in sections and you just dismantle it every time you use it and therefore don’t take up much space. #BloggerClubUK

  14. July 29, 2016 / 5:57 pm

    I love hula hooping. I find it connects me with my inner child and it is fun. I use a weighted hoop too, which my daughter enjoys using as well. I even got one for my dear old Mum, who is always going on about her ‘belly’. Unfortunately she’s not a dedicated user, and only hulas occasionally. My goal is to get her to see the ‘light’, but I’m not sure I ever will.

    #BloggerClubUK

    • August 9, 2016 / 5:44 pm

      I think I am actually in the same camp as your mum as I don’t do it as regularly as I should. It’s better if I leave it in the kitchen then it’s always there as a gentle reminder to just get on with it but if I store it away I easily forget about it. Glad you are a fellow hooper. #BloggerClubUK

  15. July 29, 2016 / 5:20 pm

    This sounds like a fab and free way to tone up. I’m impressed! Maybe this is exactly what I need to be doing to help my diaistisis recti after having my daughter last year. Judging by your post there’s lots of different swivels you can do. I haven’t hula hooped in years but I may be tempted to give it a go. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

    • August 9, 2016 / 5:43 pm

      I do love anything that can be done easily at home and found this ticked the boxes on that count. Let me know if you give it a go and how you get on. #fortheloveofBLOG

  16. July 27, 2016 / 2:25 pm

    Right, I’ve also heard of the many benefits of doing this (and you’ve also explained it really well!) and I was going to say that there’s no way I’ll ever be able to do it, as I’ve tried it in the gym, and always walked away feeling like a plonker, when I can’t do it! BUT, from your description, I’ve actually been doing it all wrong…! So I think I need to get some YouTube tutorials and try again. Although, I’m not too sure if there’s any hope left for my mid section…! It’s already got a grotesque overhang, that I think will only ever be sorted with surgery, added to the fact I’m already insulin resistant, due to PCOS. This has caused me an ongoing frustrating battle with my weight, since baby 2 was born… *sighs.* I miss my size 10 flat tummied self so much…! But who knows, if I can get to grips with this, it may be the answer to my problems!! I’m off to hunt down a hoop on Amazon, and look for some YouTube tutorials!!
    #bigpinklink

    • July 27, 2016 / 5:17 pm

      Oh take heart…I promise it is worth it. You do have to stick at it, but it is so easy to just pick up and do when you have a few spare minutes or even when you find yourself plonked in front of the telly. I was totally rubbish when I started but now even Mr MoT has to admit I have got it sussed and it’s all in the technique. Let me know how you get on. #bigpinklink

  17. July 27, 2016 / 6:59 am

    I am so crap at hula-hooping so absolutely love those weighted ones and think they’re fantastic for toning up. Something I’ll need to try after this birth I think as at least it’s something you can just pick up and do any spare 5 minutes you may get! Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

    • July 27, 2016 / 10:08 am

      Yes it’s perfect for that. I often find myself picking it up whilst I am waiting for the kids supper to cook. #MarvMondays

  18. July 25, 2016 / 9:25 pm

    I do like the sound of this and I couldn’t help thinking of belly dancing too. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • July 25, 2016 / 10:48 pm

      You are right actually, my sister-in-law learnt how to belly dance for her husband’s 50th and said it was the best exercise she had done in years, but she was rehearsing 5 times a week. #fortheloveofBLOG

      • August 2, 2016 / 1:12 pm

        It’s something I’d like to try but think it will be a while till I can do any dancing.

        • August 9, 2016 / 5:46 pm

          I am not at that level by any stretch of the imagination – just plain hooping is all I can muster.

  19. July 25, 2016 / 8:10 pm

    I bought a hula hoop recently after my friend’s eight year old daughter gave me a great lesson. Never before have I managed it! Great to read about the benefits! #MarvMondays

    • July 25, 2016 / 10:46 pm

      Just remember forwards and backwards and you will be away! #MarvMondays

  20. July 25, 2016 / 7:08 pm

    Love this! What a fun way of keeping fit. I’m a big fan of HIIT and planks are a great way to work the core too! #marvmondays

    • July 25, 2016 / 10:45 pm

      Oh you are hard core with your HIIT! My stamina is rubbish but I do a mean plank hold! #marvmondays

  21. July 23, 2016 / 11:13 pm

    I LOVE hula hooping. It is my main talent. Forget blogging. I am loads better at the good old hula (true story). Sadly, however, I rarely do it these days, although a recent hooping session a few weeks ago proved that it was like riding a bike and my old skills had not deserted me. Your weighted hoop sounds great-I find the heavier and larger ones are easier to control. I need to get back into it! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • July 25, 2016 / 4:19 pm

      How funny! Am so glad I have found a fellow hula buddy! My mates think I am crazy although that being said they can’t resist giving it a go when they come round. Keep me posted on your progress. #fortheloveofBLOG

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