In my experience, it seems like a lot of people associate fitness with sweaty treadmill sprints and crowded weight rooms, but exercise doesn’t have to be super intense to be effective. For reference, think about how kids get their exercise in. Some of your favorite childhood activities like roller skating, riding your bike, skipping rope, even running around in circles for no apparent reason were, and still are, awesome workouts. Professional trainers draw inspiration from these kinds of activities all the time, and celebrity trainer Kira Stokes’ video of Candace Cameron Bure’s hula-hooping workout is proof: There’s some pretty solid core work going on underneath all the giggles and smiles radiating from the actress. It almost seems too good to be true, but Stokes says hula-hooping is a workout worth implementing into your own routine.
Personally, I retired my hula-hoop a long time ago, but Stokes might just convince me to dust it off after all this time. Like skipping rope, hula-hooping is one of those skills that, once you learn, it’s kind of ingrained in your mind, so even if you haven’t touched a hula-hoop in years, after a few tries, you can probably pick right back up where you left off on the playground. Judging by the series of clips the celebrity trainer posted on Instagram, Bure looks like a natural.
“@candacecbure has mad hula hoop skills and the world deserves to know 🙌,” Stokes captioned the video, a thumbnail of which shows a giddy Bure all smiles and laughter as she hulas the heck out of her hoop.
Now, for the record, it’s a challenge in and of itself to just get the damn hoop to keep circling around your torso when you’re standing still — as you can see from Stoke’s continuous (albeit hilarious) struggle — but Bure is moving her body in a circle, too. In the second clip, the camera even catches the 42-year-old actor dancing mid-hula. So not only is she breaking a sweat, she’s also busting a move, all while simultaneously showing up her personal trainer. If that doesn’t scream boss status, then I don’t know what does.
Stokes also pointed out in her Instagram post that, while hula-hooping might not necessarily trump more intensive exercises like, say, jumping rope, it’s definitely a workout in its own right. “Is the hula hoop going to replace the jump rope for #stokedathletes ? Not likely,” Stokes wrote. “But it’s a workout folks - cardio CORE goodness and it’s FUN (when you’re not getting frustrated🤦🏼♀️).”
For those of you who might be scratching your head at the term “cardio core,” don't sweat it, because I definitely was, too. I know myself, and when I think of core work, exercises like crunches and leg lifts come to mind, but rarely anything associated with cardio. However, according to EverybodyFights instructor, Lauren Keenan, cardio core is a compound movement that requires your core to work for stability and effective movement, while at the same time, your heart rate creeps up.
As for hula-hooping specifically, the movement engages your thighs, low back, abdominals, and glutes, Keenan tells Elite Daily, as it requires you to bend at the knees. Have you never thought of hula-hooping in such a technical context? Because I certainly haven’t.
What’s more, there are actually plenty of cardio core exercises floating around your workouts; you probably just never realized that these moves are working both aspects of your fitness when you perform them. Vince Sant, co-founder and lead trainer at VShred, tells Elite Daily these types of movements are included in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) all the time. Examples include burpees, squats, jumping lunges, high knees, and mountain climbers, Sant explains, adding that boxing and step aerobics also yield the same benefits, “as you are using the core to stabilize your spine throughout your routine.”
I mean, burpees are pretty cool, and mountain climbers certainly bring me back to elementary school gym class, but I can’t help but notice that hula-hooping as an exercise just sounds a hell of a lot more fun — that is, if you have the rhythm and motivation, of course. Hula-hooping might not necessarily be an equivalent alternative to other means of cardio like running, swimming, and biking, but Keenan and Sant both agree that it’s definitely a fun exercise to tack onto your routine.
For beginners, Sant suggests focusing on training yourself to maintain the motion, and keep the hula hoop moving for 15 to 20 minutes. “The basic movement entails a forward stance and moving your waist in a circular motion to maintain the rotation of the hoop,” he explains. “With more experience, you can experiment with speed and even added movements like performing a sumo squat while maintaining the motion of the hula hoop's rotation.”
Once you have the basics down-pat, that's when the fun can really begin, Keenan tells Elite Daily. "I would make a game out of it," she suggests. You can start by choosing a "fun interval," Keenan explains, like one minute of hula hooping, but if you drop the hoop before the minute is up, you have to end that minute with another cardio core exercise, such as burpees, high knees, or mountain climbers. "Take a 30-second break and repeat as many times as you can," she adds.
Whether you've never picked up a hula hoop a day in your life (which, if that's the case, please feel free to borrow mine), or your hips don't lie like Bure's, remember not to take this workout too seriously. As you can see from Stokes' description, the exercise is meant to be fun. So why not draw inspiration from Bure's moves and add some music to the experience, or hula-hoop with a friend? Whatever brings a smile to your face, do it.