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MOVE

How to build your own hula-hoop, and why you should

Remember using a Hula-Hoop® as a child? You were playing, having fun and might not have known then that it was a great way to be active.  

The fun doesn't have to stop just because you've grown up. You can still hoop, but now you can appreciate how beneficial it is to your health. In fact, research has shown that hooping:

  • is aerobic as it increases your heart and breathing rates
  • burns 400 to 450 calories per hour
  • works as many as 30 of your body's muscles, your core in particular
  • improves balance, strength and flexibility
  • builds coordination—as you get more experienced, you can add walking while hooping, which improves your coordination even more
  • strengthens your stomach, arm, leg and back muscles
  • improves motor skills
  • is fun and, therefore, can fight depression and improve mood

The problem for most adults is that the toy hoops typically found in stores don't work. When you try to get the hoop spinning, it just falls to the ground because toy hoops are too light and too small for an adult. You have to gyrate a lot faster, probably faster than is possible, to get a good rhythm and keep the hoop moving. You can find adult-sized hoops online or you can make your own for very little cost and effort.

Materials
You will need to purchase the following materials at a home improvement store:

  • Approximately 10 to 12 feet of poly irrigation tubing, ¾" in diameter, 160 psi.
    • The store may only sell this tubing in 100-foot lengths, which means you should get some hoop-minded friends because you can make seven to eight adult hoops from one purchase.
  • Barbed coupling connector, ¾" plastic; one per hoop
  • Hair dryer or boiling water
  • Black duct tape
  • Colorful electrical tape
  • Funnel (optional)

Directions

  1. Using a hacksaw, ratcheting cutter or a sharp pair of scissors, cut the tubing into lengths of approximately 10 to 12 feet. When you hold the hoop in front of you, allowing the bottom of the circle to touch the ground, the top of the hoop should reach between your waist and mid-chest.
  2. Heat one end of the tubing with the hair dryer or by immersing into boiling water for a few minutes. This softens the tubing for the next step.
  3. Place the connector into the tube halfway.
  4. Using the funnel, add ½ to 1 cup of water or sand into your hoop through the open end. This adds weight to your hoop, which can increase the effects of your workout and make it easier to spin; however, don't add more than 1 cup as too heavy of a hoop could cause injuries. This step is optional; your hoop will work fine without the additional weight.
  5. Heat the other end of the tube and add to the connector. Make sure the two ends of the tube meet.
  6. Apply duct tape to seal the tube shut.
  7. Decorate your hoop with the electrical tape.

Now you have a hoop that fits you. Take it out for a spin. Hoop while watching TV or take it out in the driveway with your kids. You'll be surprised and pleased with how well you can now hoop.

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