Now, I might still be a bit of newbie to SUP, but our life experiences and pathways always converge in interesting ways, and after spending 9 years as a professional hoola hoop instructor, I knew that Stand Up Paddling and the mighty hoola hoop had some love to share. I did hoop on my board, (of course I did!!) and it was super fun and yes, quite challenging, with tons of potential for endless hours of entertainment and games.
However, the thing that I see as being equally important in this connection is how hoola hooping conditions and strengthens the body in ways that are unique and useful for SUP paddlers.
- Hoola hooping puts micro-rotations in your ankles, knees and upper torso, and gives you excellent balance when you are standing on a paddle board and gripping it with your feet.
- Hooping strengthens the feet, legs, hips, and the entire core; all the muscles you need to be stable on your SUP.
- Hoola hooping in both directions will gently strengthen your non-dominant side, which is extremely beneficial when you are constantly switching sides with the paddle.
- Off-body hooping, (using the hands or feet to spin the hoop,) also tones the wrists, arms, chest and shoulders, abdominals and legs, which is important for paddling. When you spin a hoop, the weight of the hoop increases, building multiple muscle groups.
- And finally, the spine really benefits from the contact of a hoop spinning around the torso, and is a great way to warm up the body and make your spine supple before or after a long paddle, or anytime you feel stiff and just need some micro-movement. Hooping is perfect for this! I carry a hoop or two with me to bring to the beach because I always know I'm doing something good for my body and my practice, and even a few minutes a day makes a difference!
See you on the water!
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