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Hoop Dreams


It’s not just for 1950s beach blanket babes anymore: Hula Hooping is making a comeback, and one Leader is using the hippy workout to help young people get in shape.

Gina Giargente is the founder of Hoop2Health, an educational program that teaches people the basics of hula hooping and shows them how a hula-based fitness routine can fit into their lives.

A former teacher and personal trainer, Giargente also offers educational programs for schools and corporate environments and has demonstrated hooping at her local YMCA chapter,

“I will show them the different moves and the different exercises, and then we put them together,” Giagrente explains to The Inside Track. “It just really is fun and it’s so individual. Everybody can do the same move and just look completely different doing it.”

Giargente’s interest in the fitness trend started several years ago during a trip to the beach, when she spotted someone hooping in front of the waves. After giving birth to her fourth child a few years later, Giargente found herself in need of a way to shed her baby weight without spending too much cash.

“I was kind of getting depressed from not being able to exercise. I remembered hula hooping and wanted to do it,” Giargente says. “I was at home with four kids. I didn’t have a lot of money to join a gym and pay for babysitting for four kids. I could this anywhere. Once you make your hula hoop or buy your hula hoop, that’s it. You’re set.”

Giargente started hooping on her own, using the Internet to found several instructional videos. She fashioned her own hoop out of irrigation tubing, turned on the radio, and taught herself how to hula. She was quickly hooked, she says.

After her kids got a little older, Giargente began teaching hula hoop lessons to former coworkers and at her local civic center as a fun hobby. But Giargente also began to learn about childhood obesity, she started to think about how she could use hula hooping to tackle the epidemic, and decided to work with schools to teach kids.

Giargente hopes hula hooping will be one of the ways children will learn to stay active their entire lives.

“As you go from trick to trick, the whole time that you’re working on getting the next thing down, you’re exercising, you’re moving,” Giargente says. “It’s almost like with hula hooping, the calories burning and the fitness part are almost secondary."