A swivel and a wriggle with a hoop around your middle | Daily News

A swivel and a wriggle with a hoop around your middle

Time was when small colourful plastic tubes set the world in whirl. The Hula Hoop fad in the 50s seemed to be spinning across global borders. The hoops then were small colourful plastic tubes made primarily for children to play and exercise. Today, hula hooping has come full circle. Children still love them and adults have begun using stronger, larger, heavier hoops for fitness and fun.

The hoopla swept the world, dying out again in the 1980s, but not in China and Russia, where hula hooping and hoop manipulation were adopted by traditional circuses and rhythmic gymnasts. Almost anyone with a desire to have fun, can hoop. Kids, adults, folks with issues to work out, the list goes on and on. So many people have found healing with hooping - the stories and testimonials are endless.

It’s hard to believe in an age of action-packed video games and other whiz-bang gadgets, but the Hula Hoop once was the ‘hippest’ toy around. Before long, the hula hoop had more hips swivelling than Elvis Presley. The hoop became the hottest thing since rock n’ roll as millions became fascinated by the magical rhythm of the hoops - guys and girls alike.

For many of us, the hoop elicits childhood memories of frantic hip swaying. As adults search for new, unique fitness options, the hula hoop brings them full circle. Actually I started hooping when I was around ten or thereabouts with my kid sister Ann’s bright red plastic hoop. “Why don’t you join in?” she said to me. “I can’t do that,” I said. I would move my whole body in a circle to keep up with the hoop. I would spin as fast as possible and it would immediately fall at my ankles, much like a carelessly wrapped sarong.

And the pig-tailed feminine brats would simply titter at my misfortune. So I stealthily managed to borrow her blasted hoop and practice when the tittering bevy was not around. At first the moves may throw you for a loop, but don’t despair because practice makes perfect.

I realised that the less movement the better. I initially thought I had to move my body as fast as possible in a complete circle. When my sister and her little friends hula hooped it almost looked like they were not moving at all. But really, it’s just moving your pelvic area forward and back about a half inch in either direction. You do it in sync with the hula hoop and you can go on forever. It’s really that simple!

It wasn’t easy at first but I learned with constant practice that you have to maintain a push and pull rhythm to keep that hoop moving around your waist. Your hips and mid-section have to be steadily rocking side to side or front to back. Speeding your movement or going too slow will invariably send the hoop spinning out of control and crash landing at your feet.

I soon learned that the trick to successful hooping was having fun and laughing while I practiced. But certainly not in the presence of a gaggle of giggly little girls watching you go through your paces. Okay so I dropped it dozens of times.

But I did guffaw and smile and spin it again. The technique is to never give up in this sequence: Try! Fail! Scream! Try! Repeat!

It’s not all about cursing the hoop when it doesn’t hula.

Hooping you see is all in the hips. One you get your rhythm right you realise that what goes around comes sustainably around. And once you get the hang of it, it becomes your partner in a circle, while you begin living life rhythmically encircled and loving every moment of it. And you would realise that as soon as you can sustain the spinning on your midriff that your hips were made for hooping.

You may not have touched one since you were 10, but the humble hula hoop is a bona fide piece of workout equipment that can tone your thighs, abdominals, and arms. And it’s just as much fun as you remember. Besides, you barely feel like you’re working out.

Also for the obese it gives them a chance to enjoy weight loss with a twist. Yes, it certainly does help trimming the waste from your waist. With due apologies to all the ladies, I must state honestly that the hoop is the best dancing partner I have ever had. It responds to my every movement (good or bad) and I don’t have to worry about it stepping on my toes!

Within a month I showed my kid sis and her giggle-gaggle friends that hoop dancing wasn’t just kids’ stuff. That in my case it had become a big brother multi-level activity. I demonstrated my on-body and off body tricks in a rehearsal that had them looking on with gaping jaws.

When I had perfected the art to an extent with three hoops I was invited to perform at my primary school concert with two other amateur hoopers who could only spin a single hoop on their hips. Towards the end of the show I backed off the stage to retrieve two more hoops while still spinning the one around my waist. Then I came back spinning one on my finger while the other was made to revolve around my neck.

And while the two other competitors kept their mundane waist spinning single hoops towards the end I practically took control of the entire audience. I tap danced while hula hooping. Nobody else did that. I threw one hoop backwards while spinning two on my waist and neck while going through my dance routine and started clapping while tapping and hooping. And everyone in that audience started clapping with me. That was the day when in my own small way I held physics for ransom with consummate skill.

I was certainly in my element hooping and whooping it up with a twist and a swirl and a twirl of a whirl.

That was the day I hooped my heart out. Who doesn’t hoop from the heart? I know I do! You see, my home is where my hoop is. For all readers out there remember there will always be a glorious hoop-able moment. HULALUJAH!

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