Hula Hoopin' for a Healthy Holiday Season
The holidays are just around the corner and sometimes hitting the gym isn’t a top priority when fruitcake and gingerbread are staring you straight in the face. So there is no better time to change it up … and make your sweat session this holidays a little more fun than your traditional workout!
Enter the hula-hoop … we’ve all done it before and our kids are probably better than we are at it. Even if you start with the basic moves until you feel comfortable, then step up to more advanced ones, you would be surprised with how many calories you can burn per workout. Trust me, it’s not as easy as it looks! For 20-25 minutes of hula hooping over the holidays, you'll burn 150 to 250 calories per session. Get the kiddies involved and time might just fly by!
Here are three basic hula-hoop moves you can do during the festive season that will keep your waist slim and heart rate up:
Traditional Side Stance
Stand with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart and parallel to each other. Give the hoop a good spin, and rock your hips from side to side so the hoop hits on the sides of your waist. Make sure your abs and core are tight, with chest and head lifted. Put some power into each push to get the hoop to go faster!!
Stand inside the hoop with your right foot forward, holding the hoop against your lower back. Keeping your pelvis tucked, shoulders squared, and chest lifted, bend your knees slightly and give the hoop a good counterclockwise spin around your waist, making sure it's level.
To keep the hoop moving, shift your weight quickly between your front and back legs, moving your hips backward and forward. If hoop starts to drop, try standing up straighter while pushing the front of your hip into the hoop as it comes around.
With both arms extended upward toward the sky, begin spinning the hoop above your head as a halo and with hands in a prayer position. Note that the contact points with the hoop will become the edges of your hands (by your pinkies and by your pointers). Be sure to keep both thumbs extended. As you get comfortable and want more of a challenge, add lunges or squats or even try balancing on one foot. This move will work your arms and lower body at the same time!
If hula hooping isn’t up your alley, here are some real tips from one mother to another on staying healthy over the holidays:
1. Eat a hearty and healthy meal before heading to a holiday party, so you don’t end up binging on everything in sight.
2. Schedule your workout in your phone and commit to it as you would any other appointment in your calendar. No excuses.
3. Water, water and more water. You’d be surprised at how staying hydrated can deter us from doing a deep dive into the dessert table.
4. Don’t eat your child’s leftover cheesecake after already eating your own. Just don’t.
5. If you fall off track, let it go. Don’t beat yourself up for missing that workout or eating something you didn’t really care for eating (does anyone out there actually like Christmas cake?). Guilt can cause stress and stress can cause weight gain. Let. It. Go.
Most importantly, enjoy the holidays with your family - make smart food choices where you can and keep moving whenever possible! Happy Holidays, Mamas!