Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Move your body!

I've spent the last month examining and working to change my eating habits and attitudes. I think I have made huge strides in that area, so now it is time to focus on the next thing- exercise.

Yes, exercise. Many people cringe at the word and imagine tight leotards, sweating profusely, pain and suffering. The thought of walking several miles is daunting. Excuses are made. I am guilty of all of the above. I have never been fond of sweating or getting short of breath. I haven't really RUN since I was a small child, and even that wasn't terribly common. Exercise is one of the best things that you can do for your body, and a key part of loosing weight effectively while increasing strength and stamina. It must be done.

What is a tired, hard working fat girl to do?

Well, that's exactly what I have been pondering all week. I promised an article on exercise, and I intend to deliver. I know that I need to do better in this area myself, so perhaps I will be motivated to improve by writing about it.

So, What to do? I've already started with small steps. Things like walking anywhere I go that's a mile or less away, but I really feel that it's time to up the intensity a bit. I want to build up some muscle for strength and increased calorie burning. I want to work my heart and help my cardiovascular system. I need aerobics and strength training. Problem is, I've never been the type to go to the gym for a class or to lift weights. It bores the living daylights out of me. Some people do well with that sort of thing, and more power to them, but I want to have FUN! I want to do something that I look forward to, that I can't wait to do, and I think I've found it.

My activity of choice? Hula hooping!! I LOVE my hoop. It's so much fun and it's aerobic AND strength building because it's weighted. I work my core muscles hooping, I work my lower body dancing around while I do it, and I work my arms by swinging the hoop around when I need a breather from the hooping. I first got started hooping a couple of years ago and was hooping for about 2 hours once a week at the park with some other hooping enthusiasts. That lasted until I severely twisted my ankle (not hooping, I was running in the rain and slipped) and had to stop. Recently I dragged my hoops out for the first time in almost a year and while I'm a bit rusty it's still hugely fun. Now I just have to up the frequency from more than a couple of times a month to maybe 2 or 3 times a week. Combined with the walking that I already do and perhaps some bike riding or swimming I think it's a good start.

I think the best advice I can give in this area, considering that I have a long way to go yet, is find something you enjoy, find people to share it with and get to it. The hardest part is just getting started. Momentum is a hard thing to fight- objects at rest stay at rest and all that. The opposite is true as well though- objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Get going, build some inertia. The smallest step forward is enough to start the ball rolling. Hopefully with time I'll have a better idea of the whole subject, but for now that's it!

So, what's your activity of choice and what inspires you to keep moving?


  1. Good work! Sounds awesome. I found your blog from and I must say, hooping is the only exercise I've ever found that I actually *enjoy*. It's made me feel so much more comfortable in my body and I like that I can get the benefits of exercise without having to do something I don't like (like running). More power to you and good luck on your hoop journey!

  2. Hi,
    I would like to know what kind of & size hoop that you use. I just can't seem to get the hang of it. How do you get started?

  3. feircecupcake- Thanks for the kudos, and I know exactly what you're talking about! Most exercise for me is a matter of "I have to keep going until the end of this song" but with hooping it's "ok, I have to stop at the end of this song!" There is a tendency for me to over-do it. It's a refreshing change!

    Nicole- I have to measure, It's been so long since I got my hoop that I forgot the diameter. A good rule of thumb is that you want a hoop that is standing up to come somewhere between your navel and your bust. If you are somewhat small or fairly experienced you want closer to your navel, somewhat large or inexperienced you want closer to your bust. Generally the larger a hoop is and the heavier the easier it will be to spin, just be aware that the heavier hoops are harder on your hands when it comes to off body moves. As to what kind, they are custom made of 160 psi irrigation tubing. One is 1/2" and the other is 3/4" if I recall correctly. I used to like my bigger, heavier one more, but as I keep going I find I prefer the smaller one and I'm thinking of making one that's a couple of inches smaller and a little lighter- my hands will thank me!

    Sorry it took me so long to respond, I wasn't keeping up with the bloggy thing so well for a couple of weeks, got a little preoccupied, I plan on keeping better track from now on. It's so encouraging to hear from anyone and know that there is some interest that I know I'll do better!!

  4. Ok,so I got my hoop now. It's 40" & it's good for me but I CANNOT get the darn thing to stay up. I can't get into a rhythm or make my hips go in the correct pattern or something. If I spin inside the hoop it stays up but I can only spin for so long ;) (That's spinning & throwing my hips out at the same time - not just turning in circles). How do I even get started? Can rhythmically challenged people hoop? Arugh!

  5. Well, as to that all I can say is practice practice practice and don't give up! One thing to try is to see if going the opposite way is easier, if you haven't tried that already. I hoop to the right (clockwise), some hoop to the left (counter clockwise). It's a matter of what feels more comfortable.

    If you know anyone else in your area that hoops try asking them to watch you and give you pointers. I had my cousin hooping pretty quickly. There are videos to help you get started too, maybe they'll cover something that I can't think of.

    Try hooping with your eyes closed, sometimes it can help you to feel the hoop better. You want to be pushing forward with your hip on the opposite side of the way you spin (if you spin to the right like me you push with the front of your left hip) and the back of the other side. It's not as much an around and around motion (although I do do that sometimes) as a front to back shifting of your weight. It's hard to describe, but once you get it you're all set.

    Good luck and keep trying! Let me know if you get it figured out :D

  6. I'm still practicing but so far I haven't been able to keep it up. It is a good tip that you gave me to push forward w/ the opposite hip from the way the hoop is spinning. I was pushing the same way I was spinning the hoop. My kids are doing great w/ their store bought hoops but I still can't do it. This seems very hard. I do (try to) hoop w/ my eyes shut so feel the hoop on me. There isn't a hoop group around me. It's getting frustrating. grrrr....

  7. Just keep on keepin on, you'll get it I'm sure! Even trying to get it going is good exercise I think, and eventually it'll just click and you'll be hooping for sure :D