Will Hooping Green Your Exercise Routine?

Jon Dissed/CC BY 2.0

Ever since I started transportation cycling, gyms have been a thing of the past. Teaching yoga and living carfree while biking for transport seemed to be the trick to be able to eat and drink anything I wanted.

Yet 2012 dawned with a new realization – I'd like to be just a bit more fit, and a few pounds slimmer. Riding by the nearest gym I see the rows of treadmills and the cars sitting in the parking lot and I just know there has to be a better way – something beyond green gyms, which people still need to drive to. Running would work for me but not for my partner with his creaky knees.

So what about hula-hooping, otherwise known as just plain hooping? All you need is a little space, yourself, and a hoop.

Hooping is considered a 'total body workout' and burns around 210 calories in one half-hour of sport.

Hooping is a combination of your old hula-hoop moves, where you swing your hips in a circular motion to keep a ring of plastic in motion and flight, with dancing steps added to vary the routine, keep your heart rate going and keep the flub melting off. If you visit Meetup.com you are bound to find a Hooping group where you can get a taste of this exercise trend with some other dedicated hoopers, for free.

But how green is hooping?

Well, it's got to be better than a plugged-in treadmill, which uses electricity (except in these sweat-equity gyms) to keep the rubber running as well as the digital display. The hula-hoop, trademarked by Wham-O in 1958, has never needed any kind of power other than human to get going.

Original hoops were made from a plastic called Marlex, basically high density polyethylene. At Hooping.org they advise making an old hula-hoop into a rug or a holiday wreath. These days hoops come in a lot of different variations, from LED-lit hoops, to DIY hoops. But a simple HDPE hula-hoop should be recyclable, though not necessarily in the curbside bin.

If you make your own hula-hoop, and you happen to re-use HDPE tubing, and you do all your hooping at home, outside, not following a video on a screen, or you attend yet don't drive to hooping gatherings, well, if you do all that, you might be able to say your exercise routine is green.

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