Hula Hoop


The Neuro Dynamix programme:

  • includes two hula hoop stands
  • but does not include 2 hoops due to difficulty with packaging and transport.

Hula hoops are inexpensive to buy and are a great aid in this programme.

The longest recorded duration for a single hula hoop to be hooped is 74 hours and 54 minutes, a record set in Ohio, United States by Aaron Hibbs.

What is a HULA HOOP?

A hula hoop is a hoop made of plastic tubing and is used for spinning around the waist, limbs or neck. Hula hoops for learners generally measure approximately 70 cm in diameter. Hula hoops can be used on the body, which entails hoops spinning around different body parts, but also for off-body hooping, which refers to moves done with hands only.

How to use a Hula Hoop

Encourage a learner to stand with feet a little more than shoulder-width apart and with one foot slightly in front of the other. The learner’s back needs to be straight to avoid strain on the lower back.

The learner needs to hold each side of the hoop around the waist with the hoop resting lightly against his back. He needs to start rocking forward and backwards to create a rhythm. Once he has established a forward and backwards rhythm, he must start spinning the hoop with a firm movement, while keeping his rhythm. Encourage the learner to experiment with spinning to the left and to the right to find what direction works best.

As the hoop starts to spin, the learner should move his waist back and forth (or side to side), to keep the hoop moving. Choose to rhythmically move forward and backwards or side to side. The hips should be pushed forward so the hoop can move across the stomach, and pushed backwards when the hoop moves across the back. To keep the front-to-back and side-to-side motion going, the large muscles in the legs are needed to help propel the movement.

Don’t be discouraged if at first, the hoop falls frequently. It is normal. Encourage the learner to pick it up and keep trying until he gets used to the motion. Celebrate every accomplishment.

Positive encouragement and practice is the best way to master a new skill.

What is the purpose of a Hula Hoop?

The hula hoop is a resource that requires a learner to maintain posture and stability over a base of support. It is a safe and fun way to improve balance, which also helps to improve a learner’s posture. It develops proprioception, the vestibular system, the core, the lower body and leg muscles and improves rhythm.

Rhythmic movement helps learners to develop coordination.

Jumping, stomping, galloping, skipping, clapping or playing rhythmic patterns with instruments to music, songs and rhymes develop a sense of rhythm.

Rhythm regulates chemicals in the brain that support memory and learning.

Rhythm aids in emotional development as it helps establish routine and learners begin to know what to expect.

What some people don’t necessarily know about movement activities is that they not only aid fine and gross motor development, but also stimulate attention, cooperation, sensory processing, visual skills, speech and language development, and impulse control. For a parent of a special needs child you know it is important to integrate all of these skills and help your child be the best he can be, and it’s incredible to know that rhythm and movement activities can help aid your child in so many areas.

Suggested activities for Hula Hoops:

  • Start hooping and see in what direction the hoop is turning, then start walking around in circles, following the hoop’s direction.
  • Walk back and forth or side to side while hooping.
  • Place the hoop around different parts of the body – the neck, wrist, ankle, etc.
  • Hoop around one hand and then bring the other hand in and keep on hooping with hands together. After a while take out the first hand and keep on hooping.
  • Lie down on your back, lift both your legs and first hoop around both legs, then take one leg out of the hula hoop and keep hooping around the other, then change legs while hooping. This is challenging, but don’t shy away from this activity. You may want to do the Mind Moves Core Workout for a few weeks to strengthen the core before attempting to hoop around the legs.
  • See who can keep the hoop around their waist the longest.
  • Encourage the learner to roll a hoop with their dominant hand until it falls over, and measure the distance or time.
  • Rolling the hoop by tracing a line drawn with chalk and.
  • Use a hula hoop to learn to skip with a rope. The solid arc of the hoop makes timing more predictable and the hoop does not get tangled up like the rope sometimes does.


The Neuro Dynamix Hoop Stand

The Neuro Dynamix programme does not include 2 hoops due to difficulty with packaging and transport. Hula hoops are inexpensive to buy and a great aid in this programme.

The Neuro Dynamix programme includes two hoop stands to place self-purchased hoops in a vertical position for climbing, crawling or throwing through. The vertical perspective that the hoop stands offer, encourages learners to enrich their visual-spatial skills.


Warm up with Mind Moves before you introduce the Hula Hoop:


Neck Rotator
The learner needs to stand up straight, imagining that the neck and spine are a ‘string-of-beads’. The learner then pulls at the imaginary string above the head until the beads hang in a straight line. He then slowly turns his head as far to the LEFT as possible, holding it in the extended position for a count of eight. The learner then slowly turns his head as far to the RIGHT as possible, keeping the spine straight, and holds it in the extended position for a count of eight. His hips and shoulders should face forward while only the head rotates. This movement relaxes the tension in the neck and shoulders to free up eye movement and improve listening skills. The vestibular stimulation also improves crossing the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic midlines, as well as posture and balance.
>> Watch Video


Spine Walk
The learner must lie on the floor on his back and “walk” with the hips and shoulders bending towards one side then the other while the back stays glued to the floor. (Be careful of carpet burns!) This movement strengthens the core muscles and inhibits the Spinal Galant Reflex, to promote sitting still, sitting upright, focus and concentration.

Suggested activities for the Neuro Dynamix Hoop Stands:

The hula hoop is easy to use anywhere, as long as there is enough room. To extend the use of hoops and to add a vertical visual plane, use hula hoops with the Neuro Dynamix Hoop Stands:

  • Place a hoop firmly in a Neuro Dynamix Hoop Stand on the floor. Encourage a learner to crawl on all fours through the hoop.
  • Encourage the learner to find as many creative ways as possible to move through the hoop and reward their effort with enthusiasm.
  • Place a hoop firmly in a Neuro Dynamix Hoop Stand and place it on top of a chair or table. The learner must stand 2m away, aim and throw a ball or beanbag through the hoop. Once they are successful at this distance, encourage the learner to take one step back, aim and throw a ball or beanbag through the hoop. Their posture must be upright to show that they throw with the arm, their posture mustn’t be bent suggesting that the learner is using their whole upper body to throw.
  • Put the hoop firmly in the Neuro Dynamix Hoop Stand on the ground. Encourage the learner to kick a ball through the hoop. Looking for the ball, looking at the hoop and kicking the ball through the hoop promotes visual-motor coordination.
  • Two learners work together and use one ball and a hoop in the Neuro Dynamix Hoop Stand on a chair. Each learner stands on opposite sides of the hoop and throws the ball to the other through the hoop. If there is only one learner the hoop can be placed a meter from a wall so the ball can bounce back for the learner to track and catch.
  • Use the hoops and stands with beanbags and balance beams to create a complex obstacle course.
  • Like the two chairs shown in the diagram place two hoops in the two Neuro Dynamix Hoop Stands and place the stands two meters apart. Take one beanbag and stand between the two hoop stands, one to your LEFT and one to your RIGHT. Walk two meters forwards, turn and look at the hoops in the hoop stands. Put the beanbag down to indicate where you must stand. The learner must start on the far side of the hoop stand that is to your RIGHT and look over their shoulder at you with their bodies turned away from you. While still looking at you, they walk around the hoops, between the hoops, around the hoop to your LEFT and back to the beginning. It may be helpful to first swop places: ask the learner to stand in your place while you demonstrate how you want them to walk around the hoops in stands. (Mind Moves: 3D Mouse Pad March).


    >> Watch Video

  • Once the learner has mastered walking around the hoops without taking their eyes off you, encourage the learner to gallop and then skip around the hoops in the Neuro Dynamix Hoop Stands.
  • Use one of the Neuro Dynamix Balance Bars and two Neuro Dynamix Hoop Stands. Turn the balance bar on its side and fit each end into the two hoop stands to create a thin, raised balance beam. Encourage the learner to step on the raised beam and walk heel-to-toe to the end. Slow and rhythmic walking shows skill while rushing means that momentum and not the vestibular system is doing the job.


What skills relate to a Hula Hoop on the body or off-body?

  • Proprioception
  • Body awareness
  • Core stability
  • Rhythm
  • Timing
  • Laterality
  • Balance
  • Crossing the midline
  • Vestibular development
  • Coordination
  • Posture
  • Spatial orientation
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Eye-foot coordination
  • Visual-spatial skills

Hula hoops go back as far as at least 500 BCE and were used by children and adults. Hooping is a popular fitness activity, with classes in many cities across the world. Collapsible hula hoops have been developed for easy transport and versatility. Hooping burns calories and body fat and boosts cardiovascular fitness. It is a fun family-focused activity. Hula hoops are inexpensive and portable.


When the head turns, the vestibular system is stimulated.