Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hula-hooping Research

My little sister was just that.  Little.  She was so petite that I felt gigantic by comparison (being the more shapely sister), and in the early sixties she was awfully cute in her mini skirts. Cookie (my sister) could climb on the monkey bars, slide down hills on a cardboard box, and hula hoop. She could keep that hula hoop going for what seemed like forever.  I, however, could not.  It was not my thing.  I was the studious sister. That's what I said, but secretly, I wanted to hula hoop, too.

A few weeks ago, a friend showed me her weighted hula hoop.  Knowing my previous less than illustrious history with hooping, I was not optimistic.  The idea of exercising in the comfort of air conditioning while I watched reruns of McGuyver on Netflix was awfully appealing, though.  With one-click shopping, a weighted hoop of my own was on the way in no time.  The day the hoop arrived, I was glad I could try it out in the privacy of my home with no one to see.  I hate to say this, but I couldn't make a single round with that hoop. After longer than I am willing to confess, I finally made ten revolutions and I yelped out loud.  I was thrilled.

Here's the strange thing.  Nearly everyone who has visited lately has tried the hoop.  Oddly enough, the skinny girls can hula-hoop forever.  Round and round.  My sister, not quite so petite as she once was, could get a few rounds but nothing like when we were children. (I am only a little ashamed to say I was kinda glad.)

Today is Sister Saturday, the day every month when my sister and I hang out together. As you might expect, I have brought my hula hoop.  Today, we have been blessed that her daughter and two granddaughters have joined us, and we have had a girlie girl day. Fun!  My niece is excused from hula hooping because of recent surgery, but I have recruited everyone else to help with a little research. A little hula-hoop research.  You should see those girls go.  They can really hula hoop!

We have all taken turns and here are the results:
Brother-in-law Joe (not as slim as he once was) managed to hula hoop a total of 2.6 seconds.  He hoops like I do.  Poorly.
My little sister, former hula-hooper extraordinaire, hooped for 13.8 seconds.  She says it was not this hard when she was little!
I managed to make it 15.1 seconds.  Sad to say, but that was an improvement.  After all my practice, I am still not much of a hooper.  (In my defense, I had just eaten two bowls of gumbo.  In her defense, so had my sister.)
Nephew Ben managed 31.5 seconds.  He was fast as lightening with flashy style and could have gone longer if he had not been showing off.
Grandniece Lindsey is as tall and slim as a Vogue model at thirteen and she hooped 8 minutes and 22
seconds.  Non-stop.  She was having a grand time.  It was amazing!
Grandniece Gracee is as petite as her Nana was a few decades ago. She, of course, was determined to best her sister. She hula-hooped for 21 minutes and 33 seconds, smiling and chatting the entire time. She, too, had a great time.  It wasn't work, and it wasn't really exercise.  It was fun.  I was astounded!

Here is my interpretation of the data:  My frantic efforts to get the hoop in motion were counterproductive. The bigger my hip motion, the quicker the hoop fell.  The girls were able to hoop and hoop and hoop.  The motion of their hips was subtle but steady. They were relaxed and barely moving. Their style was nothing flashy, they just  made a good steady start and kept going, and they had a grand time doing it.

Relaxed, slow, and steady.  That's the way to go the distance in hula-hooping.

I was really startled by those results.  I tend to pack as much as possible into every day and, as a result, some days it feels like I'm moving at the speed of sound.  I get lots accomplished, and I really like the pace, but more than one time I've just burned out.  I hula-hoop just like I live my life, with all-out effort, working as hard as I possibly can.  I burn a few calories, but relaxed and steady? Nope. That's not my style. Fun? Who has time? After watching those little girls and that weighted hula-hoop, I'm wondering if maybe I should reconsider. Tonight, it looked like relaxed and steady is more
productive than I realized.  For sure, it was considerably more enjoyable!

Maybe you are running at the speed of sound, too.  Are you exhausted yet?  If not, you probably will be before long.  Why not take a lesson from the hooping-experts? Slow down, relax, keep moving steadily along.  You might just have a lot more fun!