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Hula Hoop Fitness

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Remember those colorful hula hoops from the 1950s? Well, they're back, and boy have they changed. Hula hooping is no longer just kids' play; it's actually a bonafide fitness option for adults. "People get really excited if they, like me, couldn't hula hoop as a kid, but realize they can hula hoop now," said Jenny Carr (who also goes by the stage name Sennyo). Carr herself became interested in hooping after reading an article about it in a dance magazine. That was three years ago and now not only is she a hooping performer, she's also a certified hoopdance teacher, offering classes in both Bangor and Portland.

"I saw her perform, and when I found out she did classes I looked into it," said Megan Rovito of Brewer. Rovito is currently enrolled in Carr's hooping class at Valance on Main Street in Bangor. "It's tough, but I'm finding how much of it I am able to pick up. You really feel it in your waist in the beginning and then you feel it in your arm muscles."

Hooping is considered a low impact, high cardio workout that requires participants to constantly move in order to keep their hoop from dropping. Carr says circling the hoop around your waist or arms or sliding it over your back during a one-hour class can burn between 400-600 calories, and it's a workout that anyone of any age or fitness level can do if they have the correct hula hoop. "Hoops at Toys R Us and Wal-Mart are kid-sized hoops. That's why people think they can't do it, because they try using one of those and it is like running a marathon in shoes three sizes too small," explained Carr. "I started making hoops because I couldn't find one my size, but you can also pick them up at festivals."

An adult-sized hula hoop custom made by Carr costs anywhere from $20-$35, depending on how elaborate an individual wants it to be. "It is made out of irrigation tubing, which comes in a big roll and can make up to nine hoops. Then there's a half a cup of water added to the inside of the hoop, which makes it a little more of a workout," said Carr.

And hooping is not just an exercise for women. Men can benefit from it too. "Girls tend to have a more graceful look when hooping. When guys do it they have a more martial arts look and so they tend to do off body stuff with the hoop," said Carr. She admits attendance during the summer is small, but says that can also be a great time for first timers to try out hooping since classes aren't full. Megan Rovito highly recommends taking a class.

"I would suggest it to anyone who thinks they're too old or anyone who thinks they're not athletic because there are different levels of hooping that you can get comfortable with and still get a good workout."

Classes are held at Valance in Bangor on Thursday nights. For a list of class times and costs, log on to bangorpilates.net.

Last modified on Thursday, 08 December 2011 13:47

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