By: Savanah Mandeville
Follow HoopFiends on Facebook to find dates and times for Hoop Jam in the Park!
“Hooping crosses all ages, shapes, sizes and genders. We see little kids, large people, small people, people of every color, and senior citizens all enjoying hooping. It’s something anybody can do.” – Holly Jones
Remember being a kid and having hours of fun hula hooping in the backyard on a summer day?
Believe it or not, the pastime has grown into a full-fledged form of exercise, dance and creative expression for all ages.
“It’s a whole art form. It’s totally different than what we learned as kids,” said hooping enthusiast Holly Jones. “You will use a lot of muscles that you probably forgot about. When you start rocking your body back and forth and using your hips, it is a great core muscle workout. And once you start doing off-body moves, you’re getting your arms and legs involved and using other muscles, as well. And it’s great cardio, too! You don’t realize how active you’ve been until you stop the hoop for a minute to catch your breath.”
Before you run out to the garage to steal your daughter’s hula hoop, Jones advises getting an adult’s beginner hoop off Etsy for about $20. You can even buy weighted hoops for a more intense workout.
Jones began hooping four years ago, following in the footsteps of her two daughters, Amy and Rachel.
“Amy and Rachel started about eight years ago. I would see them out in the yard hooping, and my favorite people to hang out with are my kids, so I picked up a hoop one day and started. I couldn’t keep it up around my waist, but little by little I learned how to do the different moves.”
Today, Holly has a full arsenal of hooping tips and tricks. She and Amy run HoopFiends, an open-to-the-public Facebook group that hosts community hoop sessions known as Hoop Jam in the Park in the spring and summer. They usually meet at Morse Park in Neosho.
“Amy brings a ton of extra hoops – kids’ hoops, adult hoops, beginner hoops – and we invite everybody to come,” she said. “We have a lot of skilled people who come and are always willing to help teach new moves and give tips. We just want to encourage people and families to get out there and move! It’s a lot of fun and it’s very freeing. Another thing I want to say about hooping is it crosses all ages, shapes, sizes and genders. We see little kids, large people, small people, people of every color, and senior citizens all enjoying hooping. It’s something anybody can do.”
Although the first Hoop Jam in the Park of 2019 is still a few months off, there are a ton of resources online to help you get started. A simple search of “hooping for beginners” on YouTube will bring up hundreds of videos for basic waist hooping and beginner movements.
“I learned that you don’t actually swirl your hips, but you either move forward and back or side to side, so when I learned that little trick, it made it so much easier,” Jones said.
Another bit of advice?
“Don’t give up. A huge part of hooping is muscle memory, so keep practicing. Before long, it’ll be second nature.”