Hula Hoop For Weight Loss 2022: Benefits, Workouts & Safety Tips

Christine VanDoren

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Dr G. Michael DiLeo, MD

hula hoop for weight loss

Hula hoops are a childhood memory for most of us, and some people might remember when they were a craze in the 80s! Unfortunately, almost nobody takes them seriously at this point. But what if I told you you could use a hula hoop for weight loss?

It only takes a minute to realize it’s not as crazy as it sounds. The motions involved in hula hooping are large swings of the hips, affecting both your legs and your core muscles. In fact, hula hooping is a surprisingly good way to burn calories quickly, and it’s so fun you’ll want to keep going! 

But, of course, exercise is only part of the weight loss picture; combine it with a good diet and maybe a strong weight loss supplement to really melt away fat!

Can You Lose Weight By Hula Hooping?

At first, it sounds pretty unbelievable. And it’s important to note that just one exercise, on its own, will not do everything for you. Hula hooping is not a magic bullet. Those don’t exist. With that said, though, it can be a great addition to a healthy routine – one that also includes a reasonable diet and healthy sleep patterns[1]

Added to a routine like that, hula hooping can definitely increase weight loss. You’ll get the best results with a varied exercise routine[2], where hula hooping is just one small part of it – it should also include workouts for your arms and legs, stretches, and both resistive and non-resistive motion.

So, yes, you can lose weight by hula hooping, but only as part of an integrated, healthy routine.

Benefits Of Hula Hooping

Stronger Core

Hula hooping is an excellent exercise for most of your body, but it really targets your core most of all. The rhythmic motion of your hips works your abdominal muscles and tightens your core.

If you’re just starting working out, you’ll notice a drastic difference within a week, maybe even a few days, as your core strength grows by leaps and bounds.

You should also consider what core health will mean for those aches and pains in the back later on with aging–you might not get them!

If you’ve already been working out, especially if you’ve been doing a lot of core-focused exercises already, the difference won’t be nearly as noticeable, but you may still see some improvements in other areas.

Improved Balance

Hula hooping is a skill that requires good balance and coordination, but it’s also a great way to practice both! You can improve your dexterity, coordination, and balance by hula hooping for fifteen to thirty minutes a day. Balance also suffers as we age and hula hooping is a great mind-body[3] connection. 

Plus, you can learn some skills that will impress all your friends! There are people who can shift a hoop from their waist to their arm, throw it, catch it with their foot, and roll it back up their legs to their waist! You’d be surprised – if you spend some time learning, that could be you.

Weight Loss

Hula hooping on its own with a regular, unweighted hoop is not the best way to trim fat.

However, as part of a strong lifestyle plan, including healthy eating, a variety of exercises, and possibly some dietary supplements, you’ll start to see some pretty strong improvements. Before long, you’ll find yourself hula hooping slim!

One study[4] found that people who hula hooped lost more weight and and had lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels than the control group who only walked.

Fun!

Fun is good for your brain, stimulating the release[5] of many helpful anti-stress hormones. Hula hoop weight loss is arguably the most fun kind of weight loss imaginable.

You get to play with something you fondly remember from childhood, burn calories, and build strength and balance! If you enjoy your workout, you will likely stick with it. Try it with music to exercise other parts of your brain!

If it’s fun enough, you might push yourself longer and harder than planned. Of course, pushing yourself too far is not ideal, but taking it up a small notch is usually a good thing. 

Weighted Hula Hoop Exercises To Lose Weight

Standard Hula Hooping

hula hoop for weight loss

The world of hula hoop exercises is wide, but the very basic, traditional hula hoop method is a great place to start. If you need a refresher, you place a hoop around your hips, and when you swing your hips in a circle, the hoop is carried in a circle by that motion. If you do it right, the hoop will continue spinning around your hips instead of falling to the floor.

For you geeks out there, what keeps it around your hips is the centripetal force[6] of Newton’s Second Law of motion. (See, hula hooping is educational!)

It’s not easy, of course. It takes a surprising amount of practice to keep the thing balanced successfully! You can use a weighted hoop for improved exercise and calorie burning, but it might be a good idea to use a regular hula hoop at first until you get into practice.

It’s more than just a weight loss exercise, but is an exercise in coordination, balance, and rhythm. Weighted hula hooping is becoming pretty popular, and once you get used to it you’ll burn belly fat like you wouldn’t believe. 

Some people prefer a smart hula hoop, which is more like a belt. It has a weight on a string that circles your waist, but the “hoop” itself remains still. Although there are no challenges with the hoop falling off with this type, they’re still challenging to maintain motion with. 

There are occasional reports of the weight coming loose and flying off the hoop to the detriment of anything breakable. And smart weighted hula hoops cannot be used for most of the other exercises here.

Arm Circles

hula hoop for weight loss

One problem with hula hooping is that it doesn’t do much for your arms. However, it can if you think outside of the box! There are a few ways to use a hula hoop to work out your arms. 

First, you can hold both of your arms together above your head while you circle them with the hoop, trying to keep the hoop spinning above your head. This is an unusual motion your body isn’t used to, so it will be very difficult the first few times. It stretches your arms in unique places and adds another layer to your workout.

You can also use a hula hoop on one arm while holding it out to the side. Circling your outstretched arms is a standard conditioning workout for both flexors and extenders of your arm, and adding an additional hoop increases the weight and also helps you focus on how smooth and consistent your motion is.

Note that using a weighted hula hoop for this would be a fairly bad idea; that much weight at the very end of your arm could cause strain and injury.

In fact, given the width of your arm, you might even want to use a small child’s hula hoop – it will take up less space and be less likely to hit something in the room.

Russian Twist

Russian Twist

This is another popular workout, even without a hula hoop, but adding one takes it up to another level. The Russian twist is a challenging core workout in which you sit on the ground with your legs and back both raised so only your butt is touching the ground. 

Then, holding the hula hoop with both hands, twist to each side, pausing it for a few seconds each time. Don’t touch the floor with your hands or the hoop on either side. Weighted hula hoops work best for this exercise since the added weight really takes it up a notch.

Rolling Reach

Rolling Reach

This is almost a stretch instead of an exercise! It stretches your legs and shoulders while working your core and back. Stand with your legs apart and lean forward until your shoulders are at the same level as the hoop itself. 

Hold the hoop with your arms outstretched and far apart – almost like it’s a steering wheel. Roll it to one side, tilting your body with it, and then roll it the other way. Repeat a few times.

With a heavy, weighted hoop, this can also work your arms a little, but it’s more of a light way to stretch after a workout.

Squat

Squat

Squats are a great way to burn body fat on your thighs; adding a hoop can increase that burn around your hips. Hold a hula hoop upright against the ground while doing your squats. Lean it forward when you go down, and pull it back straight when you stand up. 

This exercise is also great if you want to add a bit of arm workout to your squats but don’t want to add to the weight you have to lift with your legs. Use a weighted hoop for best results.

What To Notice?

Starting is easy because you already know how to hula hoop. After a few weeks of regular hula hooping, you should notice it feels much easier than it did before.

Of course, at the end of a workout, you’ll likely be sweaty and out of breath, but basic hula hooping shouldn’t make you feel sore. (Other workouts, like the Russian twist or arm circles, absolutely will.) 

You may also find yourself sleeping better, finding it easier to execute the same motions, and possibly better balance and coordination.

Remember, you’re getting the whole package of exercise + balance + rhythmic coordination in a great mind-body experience.

It’s hard to count hula hooping calories burned, but keep checking on your weight. If it doesn’t start going down, try more strenuous workouts, a heavier hoop weight, a stricter diet, or even fat burner pills. The goal is always to see results; if you aren’t seeing results after a few weeks, tweak your system until it works for you.

Summary

Hula hooping can be a fun and easy way to lose weight, but only as part of a more extensive system of healthy living and good habits.

It can improve your balance and coordination, and once you have that hula hoop, you can do all kinds of exercises beyond basic hooping.

Just remember not to expect it to do everything or be a magic bullet. Instead, combine it with a system to work your whole body and keep your eating habits healthy, and you’ll be unstoppable.


+ 6 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. health.gov. (n.d.). Get Enough Sleep – MyHealthfinder | health.gov. [online] Available at: https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/healthy-living/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep.
  2. Swift, D.L., Johannsen, N.M., Lavie, C.J., Earnest, C.P. and Church, T.S. (2014). The Role of Exercise and Physical Activity in Weight Loss and Maintenance. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, [online] 56(4), pp.441–447. doi:10.1016/j.pcad.2013.09.012.
  3. NCCIH. (2017). Mind and Body Practices. [online] Available at: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/mind-and-body-practices
  4. Lahelma, M., Sädevirta, S., Lallukka-Brück, S., Sevastianova, K., Mustelin, L., Gylling, H., Rockette-Wagner, B., Kriska, Andrea M. and Yki-Järvinen, H. (2019). Effects of Weighted Hula-Hooping Compared to Walking on Abdominal Fat, Trunk Muscularity, and Metabolic Parameters in Overweight Subjects: A Randomized Controlled Study. Obesity Facts, [online] 12(4), pp.385–396. doi:10.1159/000500572.
  5. brain (2020). Working out boosts brain health. [online] https://www.apa.org. Available at: https://www.apa.org/topics/exercise-fitness/stress
  6. Dasha Donado. The Biomechanics of Hula Hooping. [online] Available at: Hula-Hoop-Donado-1gfnrne.pptx
Christine VanDoren

Medically reviewed by:

Michael DiLeo

Christine is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist with an undergraduate degree from Missouri State University. Her passion is helping others learn how strong and healthy they can become by transforming their daily habits. Christine spends most of her time in the gym, hiking, painting, and learning how she can influence others through positivity!

Medically reviewed by:

Michael DiLeo

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