Jessica Matthews, ACE Continuing Education Coordinator: Today we’re going to introduce you to an activity that’s fun, playful, and can add great variety to your current workout routine. Hooping has been around for years, but as it’s gained in popularity, it’s been taken to a new level. Hooping can strengthen the core, improve balance, and, if done for an extended period of time, can serve as a great aerobic workout. So, to learn more about hooping, today we have with us Unity, who’s going to tell us a little bit about the basics of how to get started if you’re new to hooping, and also tell us about hooping classes, because there are classes out there, right, that you can go to? Valentine “Unity” Martin, www.unityhoops.com: Yeah, definitely. I teach classes here in San Diego, and there’s actually classes all over the country and all over the world. Jessica: And what is; what exactly happens in a hooping class. Is it usually an hour long? Unity: Yeah, mine are an hour every week, and we pretty much start, like any normal dance or fitness class, with stretching and warming up, and then we go over some basic movements that you can do with the hula hoop. You know: basic hooping around the waist, or using your arms, your hands, or even your legs to hula hoop. Jessica: Awesome! And so you mentioned, you teach here in San Diego. And, now, if you’re in another part of the country is there a way to find classes in your area? Unity: Hooping.org is a really good resource, and there’s a section where you can click on your own city and find instructors and ways to buy hoops in that city. Jessica: And that’s exactly what I was going to ask, too, about choosing a hoop. So, if I’m someone who’s new to hooping and I want to start hooping at home, how do I know what kind of hoop to choose? Is there different types of hoop, the sizes. Can you tell us a little bit about how to pick one? Unity: Yeah, definitely. As an adult and a beginner to hoop dance, you definitely want to start out with a handmade, weighted hoop that’s a large size: anywhere from 38 to 42 inches in diameter. And you want to make sure that it has this grip tape on it right here, because it’s gonna really help you. It’s gonna grip to your skin and your clothes. Jessica: OK. And now, in terms of a height, too, is there a way to determine if this is the right size for me, like can I hold it up against me and do it? Unity: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Around the belly button is good, but it can go anywhere; up to here around this area is good. Jessica: OK. And you mentioned the weighted hoop, too, because I’ve heard about that. So, is a weighted hoop actually easier or harder for someone who’s new to hooping? Unity: It’s actually easier, contrary to what you might believe, because it moves slowly around you, since it’s weighted. It’s gonna move really slow. The light, small hoops for kids; those move really fast. Jessica: And so if I want to get started, I’m hooping at home and I’ve bought my hoop, I’ve followed your instructions, what are, kind of, some basic how-to’s of how to just get the hoop to start moving around my body? Unity: Definitely. You want to try it out? Jessica: Yeah! Unity: OK, cool. Let’s try it. So, when you hold it on your waist, you want it to touch your lower back. Good. And you want to activate your stomach muscles, so really concentrate on your stomach. You’re gonna put one foot in front of the other one and you’re going to wind up and give it a good push as you rock back and forth. Jessica: And anything with the arms in particular, or just kind of maintain that balance? Unity: Yeah, definitely just; I like to keep some really good posture. Stay lifted, and just hold my arms out and keep it nice and graceful. You’re doing great. Jessica: And, so, really I’m kind of finding it’s more of a forward and back motion as opposed to what I’d think is more of a circular-type motion. Unity: Yeah, definitely. Most people want to try making little circles with their hips, but actually you really just have to rock back and forth from your front to your back foot. Jessica: Awesome! And so this is some great, basic information on how-to, but I know, of course, you’re the expert, so there’s some other things we can do besides just keeping the hoop around our waist. Unity: Yeah, definitely. You can move it all over. Jessica: And if you could, we’d love to see some, you know; some variations of, you know, if I start practicing hooping, what are some progressions that I can go through to master some of those different moves which you mentioned earlier? Unity: So, we have Arabella here who’s gonna help me demonstrate some basic hoop movements. We’re gonna start with the hoop on our waist, touching your lower back. Good. You’re gonna activate your stomach muscles. Wind up. Give it a good push and a rock forward and back. Nice. OK. One thing that I really like to do while I hoop is turn in a circle in the same direction my hoop is going in. So let’s give that a shot. Turning with your hoop helps with momentum, so it’s gonna help the hoop stay up. Good. Now we’re gonna do the introduction to the vortex, which is picking the hoop up from the waist and having it above our head here on our hand. So, we’re gonna turn while we do that. Here we go. Nice. Hand hooping is a really good way to work out all your arm muscles. We’re gonna give it a couple of switches here above our head. Awesome. OK. Now we’re gonna put the hoop back onto our waist. Turning while we do this is also another key to making it happen. So here we go. Oh! Don’t worry if you drop it. It’s gonna happen a lot in the beginning. Good job, OK. Let’s try some different ways to hoop on our hands here. We’re gonna do it in the vertical plane in front of our body. And you definitely want to make sure that you’re putting the hoop in between your thumb and your finger when you’re hooping on your hand. Then you can use your other hand to push it around. Good. There we go. Thank you. Jessica: So, Arabella, you’re a certified fitness professional. What do you like about hooping? Arabella: I love it. It’s a great, easy workout that I can do in the comfort of my own living room while watching my favorite TV show. Or I could throw in my favorite music and just dance-hoop around the room. Jessica: And so hooping is something that you do as part of your regular workout routine? Arabella: Definitely. It’s a great core workout; full-body workout. I burn up to 350 calories per hour, and it’s so much fun. Jessica: And how did you get started with hooping? Arabella: I just saw some girls performing and fell in love with it, thought I’d give it a try, started attending class. At first it was a little difficult, but every week it gets more fun and more challenging and it becomes an even better workout. Jessica: Hooping is a great example of how to have fun while getting your body moving, which is what exercise is all about. For information about instructors and classes in your area, visit Hooping.org, and for more health and fitness information, be sure to visit acefitness.org.