Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Hello! First, a pop quiz: what popular American crooner had a hit song with the same title as this post? Give yourself a few bonus points if you know what year this song charted.

Now on to my post! A few years back, I became aware of the adult hula hoop exercise craze when our local paper carried a story about it and included some simple instructions for making a hula hoop. I cut out the instructions and later on, tore out a couple of articles about hooping for fitness in magazines. Set them aside as well. 

Early last month, I decided to use those DIY instructions to make my own hoop. I learned that the type of irrigation tubing specified in the shopping list isn't sold by the foot but in big rolls. The guy at Lowe's suggested going to one of the small hardware stores in the area to see if they'd sell it to me by the foot there. 

I did as suggested, and the guy at a small hardware store sold me a length of tubing that he said was the same as used by a local woman who ran hula hooping classes. It was a lighter tubing that what was specified in the article, but I took his word on faith. 

Well, to make a long story short, I couldn't get my hoop to stay up for very long, even after a few weeks of practice. I tried weighing it with sand, as people had suggested in online postings about DIY hoops, but that just seemed to make my hoop wobbly.

I had never used a hula hoop as a kid, and the one time I took a belly-dancing class, it was a miserable experience for me. Maybe there was something wrong with my coordination. But I was determined to make hooping work for me. After losing weight recently, I had loose skin hanging around my belly area - ugh. I also wanted to cinch my waistline some more. I'm short-waisted, so if I don't have a defined waistline, I run the risk of looking like a bowling ball!

I went to Amazon.com to see what hoops were for sale and what reviews had been posted. After reading about various companies, I settled on Canyon Hoops, based in Portland, OR. Their website seemed pretty straightforward and even with shipping, they were a good value compared to the pricing of some of the other hoops I reviewed. And the many reviews on Amazon.com and on the company website were largely very favorable. I was reassured as well when people mentioned that their Canyon Hoops hoop was easy to use from the get-go. Hmm...maybe there was hope for me after all; maybe even I could get one to stay up!

My hula hoop arrived last Friday; here's what I got:

This is my 38" weighted exercise hoop. It weighs 1.5 lbs and has a vinyl tape, dark blue/sky blue swirl pattern. (Customers can pick from several color combinations of tape and also pick the tape pattern.) 40" and 42" diameter hoops are also available. Being only 5'3", I got the smallest hoop. It's also supposed to give the best aerobic workout - since it's the lightest of the three models, it spins the fastest and so it's more work to keep it spinning.

It arrived in two halves that need to be joined with the included connector. Some online reviewers said they had trouble assembling their hoops, but I did not. 

Now for the moment of truth - would the darn thing stay up? Anxiously began spinning it - and could tell right away that this hoop was, indeed, a vast improvement over my DIY hoop. The added weight makes the difference, I'm sure.

Could practice only sporadically over the weekend because our daughter was home from college, but when I picked it up first thing in the morning yesterday to practice, I kept it up for 10 minutes straight! Hooray!

It may seem like it's a frivolous way to exercise, but I came across a research article that touted hooping's fitness benefits; you can read it HERE.

If you'd like to learn more about Canyon Hoops, their website is HERE.
But if you'd really like to make your own hoop, there are plenty of DIY instructions on the web as well. 

Either way, if you decide to go for this particular exercise, happy hooping! I'm proof that it can be done, as long as the hoop is heavy enough.

Oh, and the answer to the pop quiz: Perry Como had a hit with "Hoop-Dee-Doo" in 1950. The song is actually about polka dancing.


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