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.