Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hula Hooping? A different 'spin' on exercise or a 'core' lesson worth noting?

Your core, or roughly the 35 muscles that surround your spine and pelvic area, are a group of muscles that help support and stabilize your whole body. Strong core muscles work together to hold the body upright, maintain balance and make possible, effortless arm and leg movements.

A strong core or the desire to develop a better one, is where the fundamentals of hula hooping begins? Hula hooping is a fun way to exercise but the benefits of developing the skill, can hardly be called 'child's play'!

I remember when I decided to begin my hula hoop practice in 2010? Determined to find new 'fun' things to do, I signed up for a local class. I remember feeling initially awkward and somewhat off center, as I tried to make my hula hoop spin before it eventually dropped to the floor!

Watching my instructor as she effortlessly spun and twirled to the music, made me more determined to  'get it'!  "Think of your hula hoop as your dance partner", she would say." "Don't try to control it. Just go with the flow."  Hummmm?  Those words caught my attention. I was already aware of other area's in my life that I needed to learn the art of "letting go". So began my hula hooping passion. Here are some basic hula hooping facts that you may or may not already know?

Hula hooping is a combination of dance, exercise and play. Hoop dance inspires creativity and the expression of movement. Endless opportunities exist with the only boundaries being your own imagination. As an exercise, hooping is aerobic, combined with strength and flexibility. The American Council on Exercise (ACE Sponsored Research) conducted a study on the effectiveness of a hooping workout, in regard to it's aerobic and calorie burning results. The researchers concluded that during a 30 minute hooping workout, the participants burned an average of 7 calories per minute or a total of 210 calories, making it an acceptable exercise that can contribute to better weight management.  As play, hooping increases feeling of joy and laughter. This is my own observation from my experience with teaching children and adults.  I've seen countless times, almost immediately after 'putting on a hula hoop', a smile appears followed by laughs and ahhh's as skill after skill, is mastered!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Should adults make time for play? 

When adults think of play time, they usually think of it as an activity, only for kids. In our fast paced, over booked modern lives, many of us focus so heavily on work and family commitments that we never make time for simple fun! 

Yes, play time is essential for a child's development, but it can be an essential source of relaxation and stimulation for people of all ages! Play can add joy to life, relieve stress, jumpstart learning, connect you to others, fuel your imagination and even release endorphins (the body's natural feel good chemicals). 

Finding time to play can also help add creativity to things like work, relationships and solving everyday problems. For studies on adult fun check out this link:

So what exactly is play and how can we begin the process? In her article titled: "20 Positively Silly Things to Do to Reduce Stress", Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant, M.P.H. says, "The truth is, it doesn't really matter what you do to manage your stress as long as it  a.) makes you feel better and  b.) doesn't cause any harm to you or anyone else". 

I personally liked all of her 20 suggestions, but my favorite one I must admit, was #12 which says: "Dance in a public place. See how many people you can get to join you?" As an entertainer for kids parties, I do that with ease and wha-hoo, it is fun!!!!! 

Welcome to the New Fun Forward blog!!

Welcome to the National Association for Fun blog. We are glad you stopped by. Having fun is, well fun.. but it's also healthy for you!  We plan to post interesting articles on the importance of having fun and ways to increase fun in your life. Please come by often and get involved in the conversation. Wishing all of you a fun and healthy life!