Photo: A group of hoopers at the Butler County Hooping Life Screening Event
1. All hoopers are high on drugs
Why this isn’t true: The reality is that you can find drug users within pretty much any activity group. That does not mean that every one of them participates in drug use. In fact, some have chosen to replace destructive, addictive, unhealthy drugs with hooping to make their lives better, healthier, and happier. You can get a natural high from hooping that lasts for hours! So no, not all hoopers are high on drugs.
2. All hoopers are children or immature adults
Why this isn’t true: Hula hoops are not just for children anymore (as hard as that may be to believe). Sometimes, people can’t figure out how to hula hoop until well into their adult lives! I could not hoop as a child at all. I finally could at age 24. Besides, maturity comes partly from being okay with yourself and being able to stop allowing others to judge and control what you choose to do with your time. People who choose to participate in hooping are mature enough to know it is their choice and that they are doing what makes them happy. Mature adults choose healthy exercises that they will stick with so they will be happy and productive members of society. Immature adults often live miserable lives and take it out on everyone else in destructive, hurtful ways. Hooping helps make happy people!! It creates centered citizens that contribute positively to the lives of others.
3. All hoopers do it just for attention
Why this isn’t true: A large number of people actually decline group classes, decline private lessons, and prefer to hoop on their own. Many people are too shy to share this with other people and stay that way for years. Hooping can be a VERY personal experience to some. These people pick up hooping for all of the other benefits, such as losing weight, getting healthy, and improving their mental health. Hooping for positive attention can be an amazing experience, inspire others, and provide plentiful motivation to continue. However, not all hoopers do it for the attention.
4. Hooping means only hula hooping around your waist (like kids do)
Why this isn’t true: Although most hoopers begin learning on their waist, most of them will move on and learn everything else hooping has to offer! Some may only want to keep it on their waist, which is also a great form of exercise. However, hoop dance takes it to many more levels. If you aren’t familiar with what hooping and hoop dance is, you should immediately visit YouTube, search the internet, or ask a local hooper to show you what you are missing! Hooping and hoop dance are transcendental, graceful, and awe-inspiring! No matter if you watch a trick-based hooper or a graceful hoop dancer, you will see why hooping is so different than what you did as a child with that toy.
5. All hoopers are sluts because they wear little clothing
Why this isn’t true: Although we can understand why you might think that, there are different motives at hand here. Hooping is more successful when the hoop has direct contact with the person’s skin. The materials, plastics, and tapes of the hoop will stick to bare skin better than clothing fabrics. Also, hooping burns 400-600 calories per hour! We get very overheated while doing this exercise and need to shed a couple of layers so we don’t get heat exhaustion. We aren’t all specifically seeking sexual attention. We just want the hoop to stay up and keep our bodies cool. (Plus, hooping can create very toned, beautiful beach bodies that we sometimes want to show off!)
6. All hoopers are flexible
Why this isn’t true: You may have seen hoopers online or in person that have crazy flexible bodies. However, those awesome hoopers have probably been practicing for multiple years to specifically become flexible. That doesn’t mean that you must be flexible to do it. Hooping often inspires us to push our bodies further than they have ever gone before. This is a positive thing! However, most of us start off with very little flexibility that gets much better while we learn new hoop techniques.
7. All hoopers hula hoop in competitions and contests
Why this isn’t true: Hooping is not usually about competition. Most hoopers don’t like the idea of competing with their hooping. Some of the reasons behind hooping are unity, respect, equality, and learning. We aren’t in it for the win! We are in it for the journey. We want to encourage beginners and skill levels of all kinds. There are some contests and competitions out there, but not all hoopers are interested in them.
8. All hoopers are young
Why this isn’t true: Many hoopers start hooping at the age of 50, 60 or even 70 years old! Did you know that hooping is low-impact on the joints, making it safe for older people? It can increase your energy and make you feel many years younger! The health benefits are enough reason to re-think this myth.
9. All hoopers are female & all male hoopers are gay
Why this isn’t true: I understand you might just picture a little girl with her hula hoop due to how society has your brain wired. However, boys and men alike should have no shame in picking up this activity. Many males are finding out just how beneficial it is to be a hooper! Male hoopers are just as valuable to the hooping community as females. Don’t discourage your sons, boys, fathers, husbands, or brothers from trying this! It is just as healthy and life-altering for males as it is females. Although being gay isn’t a bad thing, you shouldn’t assume that every dude with a hula hoop is gay. It can actually be a great way for straight males to attract females! (Just ask the female hoopers what they think!)
10. All hoopers want sexual attention because of the way their body moves when they hoop
Why this isn’t true: Yes, the gyrating and pushing can tend to appear sexual. There isn’t really anything that can be done about that. It is just the natural movement required to keep the hoop going around. Don’t assume that all hoopers do it because they want you to tell them how “sexy” they are or come over and try to give them some pick-up lines. It is likely they haven’t even noticed you and were lost in their flow. There might be some people doing it for a sexual response, but they will likely make that clear to you.
11. All hoopers want to stop what they are doing to put on a show for you, for free.
Why this isn’t true: You may be asking for a whole show or to see a few tricks. Many hoopers would be thrilled to show you a little bit of what hooping has to offer! There isn’t anything wrong with that. However, not everyone is comfortable with that. Some people are too shy and will feel awkward. Not everyone wants to lose focus on their task and drop what they are doing in order to put on a show. More hoopers are noticing the value of their art and prefer to be paid for their time and energy. The hours of practice and dedication alone are enough to justify their decision to ask for compensation. Being asked to perform for free can be offensive and frustrating to some hoopers. It is not considered doing hoopers a favor to “allow” them to come to your event, “allow” them to perform for free and offer them exposure.
12. All hoopers are strippers
Why this isn’t true: Hopefully not many people associate hoopers with strippers. Not because strippers are bad people. To each their own! It is because hooping should be pictured as it is in reality. I have had some people ask me if I am a stripper when I tried to explain that I am hoop dancer. One of them was a potential landlord that asked me what my occupation is. It was embarrassing due to my decision to keep my hooping conservative. I was disappointed that he assumed hooping is the same as stripping because I hoped hooping had earned its own, unique reputation by now. I hope to break this misconception so that more conservative people will be willing to try it too.
13. Only skinny people hoop
Why this isn’t true: You should realize that most hoopers GOT skinny by hooping. Anyone of any size, age, or weight can hoop! It burns so many calories (400-600 per hour) that I lost 30 pounds in a year and a half. Judy in the photo lost 120 pounds! Many people have lost even more! You get what you put into it and anyone can lose weight doing it. If you’re afraid you can’t do it because you need to lose weight, remember this article, grab a larger hoop and stick with it. Don’t give up and that weight will come off!
14. All hoopers go to raves
Why this isn’t true: I am a hooper of two years and have never been to a rave. It just isn’t something I have a strong desire to do. I prefer quieter music and more intimate parties. I have heard raves are super fun and are a great place to hoop! I chose not to attend them anyway. Many of my hooper friends and hoop students have never heard of raves. I am finding that as time passes, fewer hoopers are attending raves as an outlet for their hoop energy.
15. Hoopers don’t have jobs
Why this isn’t true: My career is hooping. My job is hooping. It can be hard to make good income when you’re a professional hooper. However, I have about 10 different jobs! When you begin to make hooping your career, you become responsible for all of the jobs you can’t afford to pay people to do. Examples: graphic designer, agent, customer service, marketing, and costume designer. I put in more hours trying to be successful than I ever imagined. I have a lot of jobs but the pay isn’t great. I take that risk daily due to how passionate I am about my hoop dance career. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Some hoopers are super heroes! They are mothers, fathers, students at a full-time university, and also working full-time. They STILL find time to hoop! They amaze me and inspire me. So if you think you just “don’t have time” to hoop, think again!
16. Hooping is superficial and shallow
Why this isn’t true: This actually could not be further from the truth. Hoop dance is the deepest, most transcendental, meditational, mind-altering thing I have ever done in my life. I have felt parts of me that never existed before. My brain is wired differently now. I have changed the way I look at people and found deeper meaning in my entire life. I am not the only one. Ask anyone who is deeply involved in hooping. They will explain how it made their life change.
17. Hoopers are just doing it because everyone else is doing it
Why this isn’t true: People start hooping for many reasons. Not just because everyone else is doing it. I will explain the main reason why people do it. Hoopers are so happy when they hoop, their excitement is contagious. If they are having that much fun and laughing that hard with that plastic circle, it must be fun somehow! It is contagious due to how happy and fulfilled it makes each hooper. You can’t deny the way it inspires you to want to have those feelings that they have.
18. Only people with youth and perfect health can hoop
Why this isn’t true: Hooping makes you healthier and feel younger! It can be used to cure or relieve many different health issues. One of the best things is helping those that are overweight to lose weight. It can reduce blood pressure, improve arthritis, improve or reverse osteoporosis, and greatly improve mental illnesses (such as depression and anxiety). I have a student who had a severe hand injury in the past. Her hand went through a window and it cut her tendons and some muscles. She told me that her hand had never been the same until she started hooping. She said she now has full function in that hand and can do things she has not been able to do since the accident. The health benefits are pretty much endless!
19. All hoopers go to festivals
Why this isn’t true: They can be the best way to gather hoopers from everywhere to meet and have endless hooping fun! They provide a type of connection with other hoopers that cannot be replaced. Some hoopers might even feel like less of a hooper because they don’t go to festivals. I can relate! Festivals aren’t for everyone, however. They can be expensive, require camping, require no showering for days, and require excessive travel. Not all hoopers have the funds to travel and pay for the tickets. Not all hoopers are comfortable camping, either. If you love festivals, party on, hooper! If not, that’s okay too.
20. All hoopers can dance
Why this isn’t true: You hear hoop dance and you might think “oh no! I can’t dance! I can’t hoop then!” Don’t think that! PLEASE realize that many hoopers can’t dance before they pick up their hoop for the first time. I was a dancer before I started hooping and it actually didn’t help a whole lot. I found dancing with a hoop is so different that I needed to almost re-learn dance in a hoop-centered way. Some people with dance backgrounds find it super easy to combine them. Not everyone, though! Hooping can actually teach you how to dance even if you could never dance before! It helps you get in tune with your coordination and your body!
I hope this article was informative and helpful. If you have further questions about hooping and the benefits it provides, don’t hesitate to ask! Keep searching here for plentiful information!