Hoop Dancing

This post was migrated from my Lifeblog.

Normally I don’t like to post my plans before they come through for me. Call it self-defense. That way, if my lazy rear never leaves our cushy carpet, I can just look the other way and pretend nothing ever happened. Hum-dee-dum-dee-dee …

But this time, I’m really excited, because I think I’ve found something to motivate me to get active. Believe it or not, I don’t enjoy my sedentary lifestyle! I know, you’re thinking, “Well, just get up and DO something, for heaven’s sake!” That’s what I’m thinking too. But I’m picky. See I know just enough economics to be dangerous to myself. I’m thinking something along these lines: “Well, sitting here gives me so many units of net happiness. The benefit is low, but so is the cost. If I get up to exercise, I have to risk fatigue, injury, pain, confusion, and monotony. That’s a lot of costs. What exercise gives me enough benefit to outweigh these costs? What exercise is actually FUN?” Unfortunately, none so far. So I keep sitting.

Well, hopefully that’s about to change. For several weeks now, I’ve been racking my brain for fun ways to exercise. I wanted exercise to feel like playing. There’s always team sports, and I may get into some of that. The major down side is that I’m famously uncoordinated; I was always the last one picked in grade school, usually accompanied by a round of suppressed groans. Perhaps adults will be more mature, but I’ve yet to see a human being who doesn’t get competitive when the game begins. I also thought of hiking and other wilderness excursions, and I’m looking forward to exploring that option. But they require a level of stamina that I fear I don’t yet have, and they also take some level of planning, if only to drive the hour or so to a national park where there are trails. The same line of reasoning applies to dancing classes. I wanted at least a few options that I could do at home and that are easily picked up and put down.

My thoughts started wandering to the playground, where we all spent so many happy hours romping around as children. I thought of jump-roping (with my favorite childhood jump rope rhymes!). It was a big turn in the right direction: cheap, accessible, and challenging enough to hold interest. I kept thinking along that vein. That’s where my brain was yesterday walking through Barnes and Noble, when a book leaped off the shelf at me. I was astonished. I had thought of this activity … sort of. But I had no clue how much you could do with it. “Alright,” you say, “cut the suspense. What is it?” It’s called hoop dancing, and it uses a hula hoop!

Yup, that’s right. A hula hoop. That plaything my father helped me master when I was five or six. I had trouble with it at first, and in classic “don’t quit, try again” fashion, my father took me out to practice for a few minutes every day before the school bus arrived. In a few weeks, I was swirling that thing like a pro. I don’t remember when I put away my hula hoop or why, but when I facetiously bought one many years and inches of tummy fat later, I couldn’t keep it on my hips to save my life. I was so crestfallen. :( I’ve since found out that part of the problem is the hoop. The plastic playthings you find at Wally World are designed for children. They’re extremely hard for adults to master. But I’m sure a good part of it is also my middle. I can’t wait to recoup that skill I’d triumphantly laid claim to almost two decades ago!

But hula hooping isn’t all there is to hoop dance. There are all sorts of tricks you can learn with the hoop. You can twirl it around every limb of your body and exercise every muscle with your fluid movements. Plus, it can become a beautiful form of dance. Check out this YouTube video I found:


Isn’t it amazing? I’m going to learn to do that! (It might take me a while. :D)

Finally and best of all, hooping is famously fun. People have so much fun that they WANT to do it again. That’s exactly what I’m looking for in an exercise. I don’t want to have to force myself down to the gym day after day, where I spend hours running on a hampster wheel and emerge exhausted and braindead. That sounds like the most unnatural way to exercise. Can you imagine what our Paleolithic ancestors would have thought if they loped into one of our fitness gyms? I’m sure they’d think we’d gone mad.

So as soon as we get settled, I’m going to order the book and a hoop and see where I get. I can’t wait to get started playing again! It’s been too long.

And now that I’ve told you all about it, you can hold me accountable. Do it! Watch me squirm! I’m counting on you! :D