Hoop It Up for Health
A Fun Way to Get a Groove On
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When Betty Shurin, aka “Betty Hoops,” picked up a hula hoop 10 years ago, she didn’t know that one day she’d take home a Guinness World Record. But in 2005, Shurin set the pace for the world of hula racing, running Colorado’s 10-kilometer Bolder Boulder event with her bright red hoop continually spinning around her waist. “My goal was no stopping and no dropping,” she says.
Today, like many fitness trainers across the country, this hooping pioneer teaches people of all ages and body types who are interested in getting fit, losing weight, shaping up or just having fun. “Hooping changes people’s lives,” Shurin observes. “I love that when I hoop with others, I get to experience the sheer playfulness of a child.”
The hoop has been around for thousands of years, beginning in the form of encircled grapevines and grasses used as a toy by children. The evolution of the hula hoop, influenced by the Hawaiian island dance, emerged in 1958 when wooden hoops from Australia morphed into America’s plastic edition, courtesy of the Wham-O toy company.
Hooping became an instant hit and a cultural icon that lost appeal over time, only to be revitalized in the late ’90s at music festivals. That’s when fitness folks became inspired to use the hoop for getting in shape.