As a fitness instructor and especially when I teach BodyHoops Fitness, I am often asked “How many calories do you burn while hula hooping“. There are professional fitness studies that show you can burn UP TO 100 calories per 10 minutes while hula hooping. It’s important to understand that the key words here are “UP TO,” because it really depends on how aerobic do you make your hooping workout, which is in relation to exercising within your Target Heart Rate zone. The body will burn a higher percentage of calories from fat when hooping at lower intensities, but at higher intensities, you can burn a greater number of overall calories which is what you want be concerned about when hooping to “burn calories” or whatever you do for your fitness everyday. Also the amount of time you spend hula hooping and with your fitness everyday, at low and high intensities will also determine how many calories you will burn.
For a total beginner, hooping on the waist is going to be a workout and this person may be able to burn a lot of calories in a short hooping session, but then for the more experienced hooper, hooping on the waist is going to be less aerobic so they will burn less calories unless they intensify the workout with more movement. This is when footwork and engaging the arms helps to achieve burning more calories in a short hooping session. If you are hooping to burn off calories, make your hooping session an aerobic workout with moderate to high intensity sessions. Hooping in front of the TV is okay, but if you can put the music on and allow the rhythms to inspire you to move, you will be likely to burn off more calories. Bringing the arms up above your head and out to the sides and exploring the space will make this workout more aerobic. Once you get into hooping you will be stepping, spinning and moving around a LOT more, so this will help to make the workout a more “cardiovascular” exercise.
How do you know if you are hooping and working out within your Target Heart Rate? Here is some helpful information by the American Heart Association.
Target Heart Rates
Health professionals know the importance of proper pacing during exercise. To receive the benefits of physical activity, it’s important not to tire too quickly. Pacing yourself is especially important if you’ve been inactive.
Target heart rates let you measure your initial fitness level and monitor your progress in a fitness program. This approach requires measuring your pulse periodically as you exercise and staying within 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. This range is called your target heart rate.
What is an alternative to target heart rates?
Some people can’t measure their pulse or don’t want to take their pulse when exercising. If this is true for you, try using a “conversational pace” to monitor your efforts during moderate activities like walking. If you can talk and walk at the same time, you aren’t working too hard. If you can sing and maintain your level of effort, you’re probably not working hard enough. If you get out of breath quickly, you’re probably working too hard — especially if you have to stop and catch your breath.
When should I use the target heart rate?
If you participate in more-vigorous activities like brisk walking and jogging, the “conversational pace” approach may not work. Then try using the target heart rate. It works for many people, and it’s a good way for health professionals to monitor your progress.
The table below shows estimated target heart rates for different ages.
Look for the age category closest to yours, then read across to find your target heart rate.
Age Target HR Zone 50–85 % Average Maximum Heart Rate 100 %
20 years 100–170 beats per minute 200 beats per minute
25 years 98–166 beats per minute 195 beats per minute
30 years 95–162 beats per minute 190 beats per minute
35 years 93–157 beats per minute 185 beats per minute
40 years 90–153 beats per minute 180 beats per minute
45 years 88–149 beats per minute 175 beats per minute
50 years 85–145 beats per minute 170 beats per minute
55 years 83–140 beats per minute 165 beats per minute
60 years 80–136 beats per minute 160 beats per minute
65 years 78–132 beats per minute 155 beats per minute
70 years 75–128 beats per minute 150 beats per minute
Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age. The figures above are averages, so use them as general guidelines.
Note: A few high blood pressure medications lower the maximum heart rate and thus the target zone rate. If you’re taking such medicine, call your physician to find out if you need to use a lower target heart rate.
How should I pace myself?
When starting an exercise program, aim at the lowest part of your target zone (50 percent) during the first few weeks. Gradually build up to the higher part of your target zone (75 percent). After six months or more of regular exercise, you may be able to exercise comfortably at up to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. However, you don’t have to exercise that hard to stay in shape, especially if you are diligent about practicing fitness everyday.