Over the summer months everyone wants to get out more and get fit and this usually involves going to the gym or going out for a run. It may not cross your mind that there are other ways of getting fit in the city. The latest craze to hit Liverpool is hula hooping.

Hula hooping classes for adults started in America and came over to the UK about 8 years ago with a really small number of hoopers across the country (including my current teacher Kirsten Colley). Gradually it’s grown into a really vibrant scene with main hubs in London, Brighton, Manchester, Bristol and now Liverpool.

Most people think hula hooping is just about spinning it round your waist but it’s not – there’s a lot more to it! You can hoop for fitness (it’s great for toning your arms and tummy) or you can do ‘hoop dance’ which is more performance-based. There are loads of cool tricks to learn and it’s absolutely addictive once you start because it’s so much fun. You can even hoop with fire if you’re particularly daring!

It’s a fantastic activity for people of all ages and abilities to get involved in for fun, a bit of exercise and to make new friends. Personally I think it has the potential to be the new Zumba.

At Stay Beautiful Hoop Dance we’re involved in lots of events around the North West:

* Liverpool Fire Arts Festival (performances & workshops for the public)
* Egremont Festival on the Wirral (this is our next performance in August)
* World Hoop Day (every October with performances in the city)
* Manchester Hoop Congress (two full days of hoop workshops & performances every February where hoopers from all over the country meet up)
* Halloween performances (this year we’ll hopefully be doing Thriller)
* Flashmobs
* Workshops for the public

Hula hooping is definitely the most fun I’ve ever had exercising! Once you’ve mastered the art of keeping it up round your waist (which doesn’t take as long as you’d think, only a couple of sessions), you start learning tricks and hoop exercises to improve your core strength and overall fitness. We also learn hoop dance routines if we’re preparing for a festival but there’s never any pressure to perform if you don’t want to; it’s really up to you.

Kirsten tailors each class to different levels so it doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie or you’ve been doing it for a while; we usually each have different moves we want to practise so we go at our own pace during the class.

Once you can comfortably keep the hoop up around your waist you learn to spin it on different parts of your body too, which sounds hard but you’d be surprised how quickly you’ll be able to do some basic tricks like bringing the hoop up from your waist to above your head. Every class is great fun but you know what my favourite thing is? How toned my tummy feels the next day.

If you’re interested in hula hooping in Liverpool, Stay Beautiful Hoop Dance runs classes every Monday from 6.30-7.30pm at Live Wire Dance Studio on Renshaw Street and every Thursday from 7.30pm at St Mary’s Catholic College in Wallasey.

Search for Stay Beautiful Hoop Dance on Facebook or contact Kirsten on 07989 731569 or [email protected] for more information.

Laura Maclean