Rock Your Balance!

5 Balance Drills With Your Hula Hoop

Look, we get it.  Balance exercises aren’t “sexy”.  The exercises alone don’t produce rapid, amazing, shocking body transformations, or RIGHT NOW results.  And in a busy, fast paced world we tend to deal with the “right now” problems versus the prevention of the “what might be” problems.  Adding another session of exercises to your routine on when so many of you struggle to fit in your workouts now can seem overwhelming.

Luckily, we have created a series of short yet super effective exercises you can use in three different ways, whether you are focused on weight loss, hoop dance flow, or preventing falls and injury.  It’s like a transformer workout.  (Bear with me, I’ve been spending time with my five year old son and transformers and legos are at the center of my vocabulary these days!)

[ultimate_heading main_heading=”3 Ways to Use This Exercise Series”][/ultimate_heading]
[ultimate_info_table design_style=”design05″ color_scheme=”blue” package_heading=”Your Main Workout” package_sub_heading=”Turn Weight Loss “On“ By Reducing Stress ” icon_type=”custom” heading_font_color=”#ffffff” heading_font_style=”font-weight:bold;”]If you have belly fat or are post menopausal, adding in this sequence can give a boost to your weight loss efforts.  The old mantra of “exercise more and eat less” is ineffective in the weight loss gain.  It creates additional stress on the body.  And if you have belly fat and are post menopausal, stress is a factor holding you back.  We’re not just talking emotional stress but physical stress in the body, created by too much exercise, reducing calories, processed foods, food that cause inflammation, etc.

Adding in this sequence, especially if set to a very soothing, rhythmic type music can challenge muscle activation without increasing hunger, cravings, and mood swings like too much cardio can.

Frequency:  Try this series a couple of times a week.  Complete each exercise 1-2 times, depending on your level of fitness.  Focus on your breathing, moving fluidly through the exercises and relaxing.[/ultimate_info_table]

[ultimate_info_table design_style=”design05″ color_scheme=”blue” package_heading=”For Balance Only” package_sub_heading=”Improve Balance to Help Prevent Falls”]This series addresses the balance triage (cognitive, visual disturbance and poor reaction time) simultaneously.  This will not only save you time, but drastically increase the effectiveness of the exercises when faced with a fall or balance challenge

NOTE:  IT is very important to perform your balance exercises before engaging in your cardio waist hooping or dance sessions.  Engaging in balance exercises AFTER your workout can negatively impact the progress of your balance work.

Frequency:  Try this series a couple of times a week.  Complete each exercise 1-2 times, depending on your level of fitness.  Finish up each session with 5 minutes of waist hooping at the end.[/ultimate_info_table]

[ultimate_info_table design_style=”design05″ color_scheme=”blue” package_heading=”Hoop Dance Flow” package_sub_heading=”Ever Felt Dizzy or Off Balance In Your Flow?”]These are excellent drills to help you “ground” your balance while constantly turning, changing foot position, changing direction, and multitasking if you work with more than one hoop.

You can add this series in the beginning of your flow session as a warm-up, in the middle as a “reset” if you’re having difficulty with tricks, or at the end to slow things down and cool down.

Frequency:  Try this series a couple of times a week.  Complete each exercise 1-2 times.[/ultimate_info_table]

[ultimate_heading main_heading=”Why These Exercises Are Kick Butt”][/ultimate_heading]
  1. The exercises combine cognitive AND balance challenges together. Training balance problems in isolation doesn’t simulate real world conditions – for example, falling in the dark or falling when you are distracted by other thoughts or activities.
  2. The advanced exercise (see #5) at the end of the series won’t allow you to anticipate the disturbance in your balance, making it simulate real world more effectively.  We do well when we KNOW what’s coming, right?  But it is your ability to recover from an unexpected balance disruption that causes the most serious problems.  This can occur from bumping, slipping, tripping,  bending, reaching, and turning.
  3. The exercises combine strength training AND balance challenges.  This is very effective, as muscle weakness is a major contributor to balance problems as we age.  These exercises develop core strength and balance at the same time.
  4. The balance exercises include sensory challenges that stimulate real world conditions – lighting changes, loss of vision, moving your head from side to side.  To simulate lighting changes you can dim your room lights or even wear sunglasses.
[ultimate_heading main_heading=”Balance Exercise Series”][/ultimate_heading]

Each exercise contains modifications based on balance skill level.  Choose which version you are most comfortable with and can safely perform.  Be sure to work in a space that has enough room and wear smooth bottom shoes or go barefoot.

Exercise #1:  One Leg Balance Drill Series

Aim for 10 balance holds on each leg.  Repeat 2-3 times.  You can choose which one leg balance drill best suits your current balance skill level.

Exercise #2:  Body Circle Series

Aim for 10 body circles in each direction.  Repeat 2-3 times.  You can choose to perform these with or without your hoop based on your current balance skill level.

Exercise #3:  Walk the Line

Aim for 10 steps both forward and backward.  Repeat 2-3 times.  You can choose to perform these with or without a lifted leg balance based on your current balance skill level.

Exercise #4:  Object Stepping

Aim for 10 steps over your objects.  Be sure to use soft objects.  Repeat 2-3 times.

Exercise #5:  Obstacle Course

Aim for 10 random steps over your soft objects.  Repeat 2-3 times.  You can increase the challenge by having someone call direction changes for you, as demonstrated in the video and also tossing a ball back and forth as your skill level increases.

About the Author:

Leigh Little, Hula Hoop Expert

Leigh Little is a certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist and Precision Nutrition Certified.  She is a regular Canyon Hoops contributor with blog articles and videos and is the creator of Canyon Hoops Hoop Fitness DVD.  To work with Leigh one on one for hoop fitness, dance, or weight loss contact her at leighlittle@real-fitness-solutions.com

Case Study #1: Hoop Size

Background

Judy wrote to us asking for help in possibly ordering a new hoop size or how to best work with her exercise hula hoop she already purchased.  Judy is 75 and had never hooped before purchasing her 42” weighted exercise hoop from Canyon Hoops.  She learned to hoop by watching our Hoop Fitness DVD and was super excited to learn that she could hoop at 75 for the first time!  She mentioned that she experienced soreness above her right hip after hooping and as a result had taken time off from hooping.  She wrote in to ask whether she should get a different hoop size or what she could do differently. Read more

Lessons From The Biggest Loser: How to Get It Right

Lessons Learned from the Biggest Loser

Millions of us abuse our bodies emotionally and physically every day.  The fact is we engage in harsh self talk, radical strategies, or strategies that work for someone else and at the end of the day end up frustrated and feeling hopeless in the war against weight loss.  This is happening all across America.  A recent article from the New York Times shed light on The Biggest Loser Contestants and the problems that resulted following their radical experiences on the show. Read more

6 Minute Hula Hoop Workout

6 Minute Hula Hoop Workout

Target Your Abs and Lower Body

This 6 minute hula hoop workout is designed with exercises in a specific order to fire your abs, glutes, and legs.  

  • If fat loss is your goal, there are 3 specific ways you can use this workout to maximize results.  Number 2 may save you if you have a meal that’s not so, well, weight loss friendly!  Look for these  below the video.
  • This workout is suitable for all fitness levels and can be done with any hoop, although we recommend a weighted fitness hoop for this particular lower body hula hoop workout.  We demonstrated this hula hoop workout sequence using our 2 in 1 Fitness Hoop, that easily takes your hoop from large to small with a push of a button.  You can see how easy it is to go back and forth at 3:55 in the video.
  • And keeping with our theme last week, we used a 110 BPM (beats per minute) soundtrack.  You can use one of the free music apps we recommended with a slower or faster soundtrack.  Check out the music apps we recommended in our Top 15 Hooping Apps post.

Read more

Top 15 Hula Hooping Apps

Top 15 Hula Hooping Apps

Learn which of these top 15 hula hooping apps just might take you from beginner to expert.  Technology can make not only our schedules and productivity more efficient, but it can take your hula hoop dance and fitness practice to the next level.  So today, we’ve complied our 15 most interesting and applicable apps that can help you:

  • take your hoop dance from bad to mad,
  • teach you how to incorporate your hula hoop with total body conditioning,
  • track your nutrition if weight loss is your goal,
  • manage learning your hoop tricks,
  • provide music variety and consistent beats per minute
  • improve coordination of your brain and body movements,
  • improve sleep to help reduce cortisol and boost weight loss results (check out our article on how hooping can boost your mood)

Read more

Get the Skinny on Waist Trimmers!

Get the Skinny on Waist Trimmers

What You Can Really Expect From a Waist Trimmer

Today we’re going to break down when and why you should consider using a neoprene waist trimmer in your hula hoop dance and fitness practice and what results you can realistically expect.  AND, you’re going to love this.  A protocol to use with the waist trimmer to jump start your results and put you into fat burning mode during and after your workout. Read more

[New Tutorial] Hula Hoop Dance Flow

New Hula Hoop Dance Tutorial

Anyone can learn this fun new hula hoop dance flow using this step by step tutorial from The Kreepy Hoop Troupe!  Not only will this hoop dance flow give you a chance to practice fun hoop tricks, but it will keep your heart rate up!  This hoop dance flow is great for beginners and small spaces.

Hula Hoop Dance Tutorial Sequence

Meet The Kreepy Hoop Troupe!

Roxxx: On Easter Sunday two years ago my cousin Mikey brought all of her Hula hoops to our Grandmother’s house and scattered them in the yard. I picked one up, exclaiming that I could never keep a hoop up and gave it a try. To my delight and surprise, after an hours or so I finally achieved something I never thought possible: I could hula hoop! I went to Lowes the next day and my husband helped me purchase supplies to make my very own “adult” hoop and I started binge watching youtube tutorials. Now I feel like a total ninja!


Bleeb VonAlien: My name is Missy AKA Bleeb VonAlien. I accidentally stumbled across hooping when looking for a painting technique on youtube. When Katie Sunshine’s paint hoop video popped up. That was two years ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. Hooping has made me a stronger, healthier, and happier person.


Mikey: I’ve been Hooping since about May of 2012. I always watched my friend Katie Blanton hoop and wanted to do it so bad. So one day we went to a hoop party Taylor Gwertz had organized and she gave me my first hoop for free! And the rest is Hoopstory! (History lol)


Mandy: (She was unavailable for comment at the time) Mandy was forced into hooping by Roxxx who really wanted to have a hoop buddy. She fell in love with it, practicing illusion tricks. Her Favorite is the chest roll! She has since moved on to learn Fans, planning on expanding her practice with fire in the near future!

How Did You Form Your Group?

Last summer, the four of us got together and we were joking around about starting a hoop troupe. We had been meeting a couple times a week for a few months by that point and our friendships started to grow and blossom.

On the day we decided to start the troop, Mikey mentioned that since we were all “alternative” in nature and liked to think of creepy things, that we should be the Creepy hoop Troupe. Bleeb loved the idea, and I decided that we should be creepy with a K! We have a common goal to “flow outside the box” and inspire others with our creativity and unique quirky hoop videos.

Follow The Kreepy Hoop Troupe!

We do not currently have a website, but you can find us on Facebook at:
https://www.facebook.com/kreepyhooptroupe

Hoop Dance Flow

We’ve Got You Covered!

Our dance hoops are smaller in diameter and lighter than our Exercise and Fitness hoops. They are designed to rotate faster, be more flexible and responsive to help you learn and master hoop dance flow in all its varied forms.

We recommend our dance hula hoop control flex hoop.  Its the ideal size and weight for both beginning and intermediate hoopers.

9 Ways to Rock Hula Hoop Tricks in a Small Space

Winter weather and small spaces don’t have to derail your hoop dance and fitness progress.  So many of you have asked for hula hoop tricks and exercises you can do with your fitness and dance hoops inside small spaces. So today, we’ve compiled a list of hoop tricks and exercises to try that will keep you on track without breaking a lamp in the process! Read more

Can Hula Hooping Boost Your Mood?

Winters can be a bit gloomy for many of us and leave use feeling a little blue. This rings true here in Portland as winters tend to be quite overcast and wet. Did I mention wet?   Almost all of my running days have been in the rain this winter. With two toddlers I don’t get to choose the perfect time to go for a run. It’s a now or never strategy. I just realized yesterday (it was a dry sunny day) that my feet haven’t been wet from the rain and endless puddles, but a hole in my running shoe (and you’ll love the “why” – from turning with my hoop).

Whether it’s the lack of fresh air, fresh vitamin D, dietary deficiencies or lack of exercise stimulating mood enhancing neurochemicals, all of these can contribute to us not feeling our best. We’re going to uncover how hooping specifically can help combat this, and also give you two new strategies to try to boost those feel good neurochemicals!

Hula Hooping Stimulates Critical Neurochemicals

Most of us have heard of runners high, but is there such a thing as hoopers high? Hula hooping stimulates neurochemicals in our brains that contribute to a “high”, particularly dopamine and serotonin.   Dopamine reinforces behaviors that make you feel good. In contrast, serotonin is important for calmness and emotional well-being. Many of the brains neurochemicals are stimulated when we exercise in any way at all – so where does the benefit of hooping come in?

One of the reasons that clients don’t like to exercise is that they don’t consider it fun. It becomes more of a chore. Unless you’re hard core, jump squats, burpees, and sprinting have probably lost their appeal. But CONSISTENCY in any fitness and wellness routine is crucial for success and long term adherence, AND release of these feel good neurochemicals!

How do we get consistency? By doing something that’s FUN that we look forward to.   Ahhh yes, hooping.

And not only is it good for the body, but attempting and mastering tricks gives you an extra shot of dopamine release.  According to Mandi Smith at hooping.org, “Hooping requires motor control, working memory, and rapid decision making. When you plan and execute the perfect escalator move, you get an extra boost of dopamine as a reward. Heck, you get an extra boost of dopamine by just planning and anticipating the next move, even if it isn’t executed perfectly — a fact for which I am profoundly grateful. Experimenting with new moves and combinations of moves can also result in new synaptic connections, a vital part of learning and memory formation”.

And we’re not the only ones catching on to the mood boosting, meditative benefits of hooping. 50 of our Collapsible Infinity Hoops just made their way to Deepak Choprah’s clientele at the Chopra Center!

Hula Hooping Can Lower Cortisol

“The best time to relax is when you don’t have time for it”

If you are battling chronic daily stress (job, financial, marriage, move, LIFE) and/or are post menopausal, then you might just be familiar with cortisol’s effect on the body. Cortisol is a hormone that when chronically elevated, can disrupt normal functioning. It can reduce sleep quality, duration, create more stress, cause overeating, and increased fat deposits around the middle in post menopausal women. Over time you can end up with the effects shown below.

And most of us aren’t resting and engaging in activities that restore cortisol levels. Athletes do this quite well – they build in daily recovery time. Even though they are training at high intensities, they schedule daily rests and naps to help promote recovery. Since no clients I KNOW or have worked with can schedule nap time, creating exercise that promotes and has similar effects is a smart way to handle chronic cortisol.

Parasympathetic activities, such as hula hooping, meditation, breathing, leisure walking, and meditative yoga can reduce heart rate, and cortisol levels in the body. What in the heck is a parasympathetic activity and why should you care? Sympathetic activity is categorized as “fight or flight” activity. Parasympathetic is termed “rest and digest” activity. Most of us tend to be sympathetic dominant, as referenced above with the chronic daily stressors that disrupt cortisol levels. So focusing on exercise that increases our already dominant sympathetic activity may not be the best strategy. While a baseline of high intensity exercise is okay even with periods of high stress, balance is needed to fire off the parasympathetic activity. Enter hula hooping!

STRATEGY:

  1. In the evening, try incorporating deep breathing with abdominal hooping. Slow, rhythmic movements along with even breathing can help.
  2. Include 2-3 days of strength training and or intervals, along with 2-3 days of hooping. We included both in our Hoop Fitness DVD for this very reason.

Hula Hooping and the Grounding Connection

What in the heck is grounding? According to www.drweil.com “Earthing” also called “grounding” stems from the idea that in modern city life we no longer have direct physical contact with the Earth, and therefore are losing out on purported health benefits of exchanging electrons with the surface of our planet. A handful of small studies have found that grounding appears to provide some general health benefits, such as better sleep, less pain, reduced stress and tension, and better immune function compared to study participants who weren’t grounded. One study suggested that earthing eliminates the potentially harmful effects of the electromagnetic fields given off by all the electronic devices that surround us.

Hooping is a perfect activity to try out grounding. If you bring your hoop to the gym, or live in a concrete jungle, it may be something you haven’t given much thought to. I used to do more of this early on in my hooping days but moved away from it due to the cold wet winters, bald patches of grass from my practice and the habit of putting on my shoes and going outside to run, hoop, or do any physical activity.

But I decided to head outside today sans shoes (if you’ll remember from paragraph one my shoes now have a hole in them anyway) and give it a whirl (pardon the pun). Here’s what I noticed. With the sun shining in my face, the feel of the earth on my feet and the relaxing soundtrack from “Outlander”, it was a slice of heaven (until hit in the back with a flying arm hoop thanks to my son Austin).

I definitely felt very relaxed and peaceful, which also kicked off a string of creativity on both our parts. I came up with a new toss sequence, and Austin tested whether his lego plane was stronger than the arm hoop (verdict still out on this one).

In the end, I spent WAY longer than the few minutes I had originally planned to test this out.  Both of us were out for an hour and I found myself saying “ok, just two minutes more and then we need to go inside”.

As someone who comes from a family with a history of depression, I’m certainly willing to make this a regular part of my routine again. Along with the feelings of being connected to the earth and increased awareness, the uneven nature of the ground presents some balance challenges, especially while leg hooping and hooping on one leg, all of which are good for core strength.

Beware however, that there are a lot of products designed to enhance grounding or earthing, which can add up.  And the research is still out.

But next time we are all outside and the kids ask “can we take our shoes off?  YES, YES YOU CAN, and I will join you.

STRATEGY:  If you take your hoop to the park, or even right outside in your yard, ditch your shoes.  You just might unleash the creativity to test out some new combinations and feel calm in the process.

Additional Resources and Reading

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401221/Is-There-Anything-to-Earthing.html

http://wellnessmama.com/5600/earthing-sleep/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/11/04/why-does-walking-barefoot-on-the-earth-make-you-feel-better.aspx

Leigh Little, Hula Hoop Expert

Leigh Little,
Precision Nutrition Coach
ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist
Creator of the Hoop Fitness DVD

To work with Leigh one on one contact her at leighlittle@real-fitness-solutions.com

Hoop for Hope Challenge #10

As we begin our final challenge in the series, I just wanted to take a minute and acknowledge all of you that have stuck with the challenge, provided feedback, and experimented with new things as you progress in your own hoop journey.  I’m honored to have witnessed some amazing progress in areas related to both your hooping and in your own professional and personal lives.

Before you begin this last challenge, take a minute and watch the following video. Read more