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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Weight Management arrow Hula Hoop for Weight Loss: Is It Just Another Gimmick?

Hula Hoop for Weight Loss: Is It Just Another Gimmick?

Written by Dennis Njoroge
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 22, 2023
6 min read 1747 Views 0 Comments
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Hula hooping is an exercise involving spinning a circular hoop around the waist for fitness or fun. This article will discuss the benefits of this exercise and how it impacts weight loss.

Hula hoop for weight loss

Hula hooping refers to the activity of spinning a plastic or metal hoop around your waist. You might remember how you hula hooped from your childhood, but this activity is not only for kids but is also a low-impact workout that adults can combine with strength training to burn excess calories.

Hooping is a total body workout that mainly strengthens stomach muscles and helps you lose extra weight. If you want a fun exercise to add to your cardio routine, an activity like the hula hoop can keep you on track with your fitness goals.

This article will explore the benefits of a hula hoop for weight loss and how you can incorporate it into your workout routine.

Using Hula Hoops for Weight Loss – Does It Work?

A hula hoop is a great cardiovascular fitness workout that helps burn calories leading to weight loss. When combined with strength training and a healthy diet, it helps you lose excess weight.

When it comes to burning calories, hooping has similar results to other aerobic activities like salsa dancing.

Hula hoops also vary in weight, and generally, they range from one to five pounds. A weighted hula hoop is bigger and has padding around it to protect you from bruising.

A smaller hoop spins faster and needs more energy to keep going, while a weighted hoop requires less effort to spin. It is advisable for beginners and people with back problems to avoid a weighted hula hoop.

Do Weighted Hula Hoops Work?

A weighted hula hoop works and is among the best exercises that give a full-body workout. Weighted hula hoops are heavier than traditional hula hoops and help add variety to your aerobic activity.

The lighter a hoop is, the more energy you will expend to keep it going. However, it is easier to keep going with a weighted hula hoop, meaning you can use it for a more extended period.

On the other hand, a weighted hula hoop gives more muscle toning than a non-weighted one. A weighted hula hoop offers more resistance than a regular hoop, hence helping tone abdominal muscles. 

Peer-reviewed studies concluded that weighted hula hooping decreased abdominal fat among overweight subjects. Weighted hula hooping is also associated with reduced waist size and hip girth.

It is advisable to experiment with different hoops and find the one that is the right size for you.

If you feel any pain waist hooping or have a history of medical concerns such as back pain, it is best to stop hooping and consult a licensed physical therapist.

5 Great Benefits of Hula Hoop

Hula hooping has numerous benefits and can yield similar results as other aerobic activities like swing dancing and salsa. 

It can help adults meet the weekly physical activity requirements necessary to maintain good health. Below are some of the benefits of a hula hoop.

#1 Burns calories effectively

The best way to lose weight is by maintaining a calorie deficit, and hula hooping burns calories effectively. The calories you burn depend on your average weight, fitness levels, and exercise intensity.

After 30 minutes of hula hooping, women burn 165 calories, whereas men burn an average of 200 calories, making it comparable to a boot camp workout or cardio kickboxing. Using hula hoops is just as effective as other dancing exercises like salsa and belly dancing in terms of calorie burning.

#2 Good for your core

Using the hula hoop fully keeps your core engaged as you need to engage your hips to keep the hoop moving. Using a hula hoop regularly is among the fun workouts that target your hip muscles, obliques, and abdominal muscles.

You need good hip mobility and strong core muscles to keep the hoop in motion. Using a weighted hula hoop helps you shed body fat and tone your core muscles, consequently helping you lose inches around your waist.

Other than strengthening your core, a weighted hoop also strengthens other lower body muscles such as the hamstrings, glutes, calves, and quadriceps. Leg muscles help you propel the hips forward and allow side-to-side movements.

#3 Improves your posture and balance

Using a weighted hula hoop helps improve your posture and muscular control, which are vital for balance. 

A recent study showed that hula hooping activates core muscles and improves lumbar stability among people with low lumbar stability.

The study points out that any physical activity that needs you to maintain your poise and posture over support helps improve your body balance. Hooping also challenges the brain as it requires hand-eye coordination.

Hooping is a good form of balance training and helps minimize fall-related injuries for seniors.

#4 Good for your heart health

Hooping is an aerobic exercise that lowers blood pressure and boosts blood circulation, improving heart health. Hula hooping also lowers bad cholesterol levels associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.

Besides reducing cholesterol levels, a regular workout routine also helps manage blood sugar and reduces the chances of contracting type 2 diabetes.

Weighted hula hoops provide a good workout for burning calories, lowering the risk of heart disease, and improving your mental health.

#5 Portable

Hula hooping is a convenient exercise as it doesn’t require a commute to the gym. Hoops are also inexpensive, and you can do them anywhere. It is a fun form of cardio you can do anywhere.

Can Hula Hooping Be Harmful?

Hula hooping can be harmful if not performed in the proper form. It can also be dangerous for people with pre-existing back problems like spinal fractures, a herniated disc, or lower back pain.

Patients with heart problems also need to check with their healthcare providers to assess whether this cardio exercise is safe for their condition.

Though hooping injuries are uncommon, improper use such as hooping without a full-length T-shirt to cover the waist area may cause skin irritation. Hoopers that perform tricks may also sustain some injuries.

The overuse of a weighted hula hoop over 5 pounds can cause bruising to the back, ribs, and abdomen. They can also pinch a nerve or internal organ. Like any exercise, it is best to consult a healthcare expert and follow the safety guidelines for optimal results.

How to Use a Hula Hoop

When you get the right hoop size, you are ready to start. You need to wear a fitting T-shirt and pants for safety reasons as loose clothing can be caught in the hoop.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and one foot slightly ahead of the other to start hooping. Keep the back straight and core engaged, and avoid bending while hooping. Lift the front part of the hoop and step inside it. Your feet need to be inside the back of the hoop.

Pull the hoop to your waist, and start rocking your waist side to side to gain momentum. If you are right-handed, you will enjoy spinning it counterclockwise, and if you are left-handed, moving clockwise will be better for you.

Try to maintain a steady rhythm without stopping or allowing the hoop to drop. When the hoop starts slipping, rock your waist faster to raise it. Ensure you maintain good posture and form throughout the workouts.

Hula Hoop for Weight Loss FAQs

Below are some of the answers to the frequently asked questions about hula hooping.

How long should you hula hoop to lose weight?

Thirty minutes of hooping a day burns an average of 210 calories, which is significant enough for weight management. In terms of calorie burn and heart rate, hula hooping compares favorably with other exercises like kickboxing and step aerobics.

Can the hula hoop reduce belly fat?

Hula hooping helps reduce belly fat and tone the muscles around the belly area. However, the rate at which you lose abdominal fat depends on your genetics, fitness level, and how you work out. Start in small increments and slowly build up your hoop practice for a sustainable routine.

What kind of hula hoop is best?

The best weight and hula hoop type depends on your body type, height, and experience level. A weighted hula hoop is easier to spin and is the best for muscle toning, and a regular hula hoop is the best for learning hooping and how to perform hooping tricks.

A Word From Our Personal Trainer

Hooping is a novel and challenging addition to your fitness routine. It helps burn calories, thus allowing one to lose excess weight. The intensity and length of time you spend hooping affect the number of calories you burn.

The best way to shed excess weight is to sustain a calorie deficit, and you need to combine your exercises with a healthy diet. Hooping can also help lower your cholesterol levels, which helps minimize the risk of high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.

Like any physical activity, avoid over-exercising as it may cause hip and back discomfort. Follow the safety guidelines to prevent incurring any injuries.

Before starting any weight loss routine, it is best to consult your doctor and personal trainer to establish a plan that safely incorporates this cardio exercise into your lifestyle.


Hula hooping is a fun way to add variation to your exercise routine. It helps improve balance, aerobic fitness, and strength. You can use it to add other exercises like running, walking, biking, or hiking.

Though it takes some practice to perfect, it is an easily accessible exercise to help you lose weight. Hooping is generally a safe exercise, but you need to consult your doctor first for medical advice if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

Written by Dennis Njoroge
Dennis is a seasoned writer who focuses on writing health and wellness articles. His career goal is to educate people on how to reprogram their lives by breaking free from unhealthy eating habits and fostering new sustainable habits. Dennis tries to give easy-to-follow advice based on scientific research. He strongly believes that regardless of age, fitness level, a person can always learn something new and reach their health goals if they have a positive mindset.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Dennis Njoroge
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 22, 2023
6 min read 1747 Views 0 Comments

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