Kathleen Cancilla remembers spinning a hula hoop around her hips as a kid, as many do. But it wasn't until recently that she rediscovered the activity and adapted it to her adult lifestyle -- with surprising results. She has developed a stronger core and stronger legs. She has even lost weight, as part of an active lifestyle that includes a daily 30-minute walk and lifting weights at the gym. But the reason she keeps on hula-hooping, she says, is simple: It's fun.
RETRO WORKOUT "A few years ago, my sisters and I saw some teenagers hula-hooping at the beach. It reminded us how fun that was. Then we discovered weighted hula hoops. I figured I could sit and watch TV or hula hoop. For me, it was easy, just because I did it as a kid. A lot of people have a hard time at first, but if you practice it a little bit, it's not complicated. I do things in spurts. But for the past few months, it's been every night. If I don't do it, it bugs me."
PRIME TIME "I have never been one to really sit. If I'm watching TV, I'm up the minute a commercial is on. We watch 'American Idol,' and I figure I can stand and hula hoop. I can stand there and hula hoop for an hour, no problem. I do a minimum of 45 minutes now, but I started out at 10 or 15. At work, a couple of us go down the hall to a vacant office with a few hula hoops during lunch. There are other times that I will throw on my iPod and hoop to music."
HEALTH BENEFITS "My whole motivation was a trip to Southern California; I wanted to wear a bathing suit. For me, I always need a goal. When I went to my doctor for my annual, I'd lost 14 pounds since August. I didn't know I had 14 pounds to lose. I'm also a lot stronger."
HULA HOOP 2.0 "Mine is 3 pounds. I don't think I could do it with a kids' hoop anymore. It's almost easier when it's heavier. They have a fabric that seems easier to use. It takes a little time to build up, though; at first, I almost felt bruised. And I change positions; I don't just stand there and hoop; I try to incorporate arm and leg movements for strength, as well. I'll do a deeper plié squat that focuses on legs as well as core. I have noticed that my waist is stronger and definitely smaller, but what surprised me more is that it has had a definite effect on my legs, particularly my quads."
NO TRICKS "A lot of people do tricks and stuff; I'm not that girl. I'm not going to be in the circus. Hula-hooping just happens to be my thing."