I've discovered a new activity . . . and I like it. It's healthy, creative, ab-toning (woohoo!), and just plain fun. If you follow me on Twitter, you'll have seen my tweets on the topic. It's . . . hula hooping!

Hula hooping?

I heard that. And you're right. It's a little . . . random. But bear with me.

Let's rewind a few months. Toward the end of the last school year, I saw that the YMCA was offering a hoop dancing class. I was intrigued, but unable to attend due to my schedule. No matter, I thought. I planned to start attending during the summer vacation. Unfortunately, the class disappeared with the dwindling school year.

But my interest was still piqued. Ever the resourceful blogger, I got to Googling. I discovered that apparently hula hooping as an art and a sport (a.k.a. hoop dancing) is more widespread than I expected. Even better, there are instructional DVDs. With the blessings of Netflix, I was soon watching Hoopnotica's Level One DVD in the comfort of my living room, $5 Target toy hoop in hand (or on waist, as the case may be).

It was . . . frustrating. This is truly an instructional video, not a dance or aerobics workout. It provides you with the building blocks to create your own dance. At the time, I just wanted to sweat. The DVD went back to Netflix, and I stashed my hoop in a corner for the rest of the summer.

Until now. As you know, I recently completed my first triathlon (yeehaw!). I also set my running shoes working toward a new goal, the hefty half-marathon. Somewhere during the process of training for both, I upset my left hip. It could be the IT band, it could be something else. For now, though, I'm keeping my activity low-impact. Reenter the frustration. I love being active, feeling strong, and pushing myself hard. When I can't, I feel . . . bleah.

But then I remembered my hoop. Hoop dancing is low-impact, great for the core, and a heart-rate booster as well. Perfect for my unhappy hip. I looked up some more hooping resources (check out Hoop City -- SaFire, the site owner and hooping guru, pretty much rocks) and found myself sold. I downloaded as many tutorials as I could get my paws on, and then just rocked out to my favorite music while hooping. I think I spent at least 2.5 hours hooping this weekend.

You might not call what I do hoop dancing, exactly. Not yet, anyway. But, as clumsy as I look and silly as I feel when I see myself attempting to hoop (as in the video below), I like it. A lot.

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