BIG READ: Z-spins and shoulder rolls for mind and body health

Youngsters enjoying a hula hooping class from Globe Fit in Fareham  Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Youngsters enjoying a hula hooping class from Globe Fit in Fareham Picture: Chris Moorhouse
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It can tackle those muffins tops that just won't budge, help you to relax your mind, and put a smile on your face.   Hula hooping is the latest fitness craze for children and adults that can seemingly solve all of life's problems in 30 minutes of pure fun. After having her son in 2011, Hannah Murphy found herself down in the dumps about her body and sought to find a way to ditch the baby bulge.

The 33-year-old, from Fareham, says: 'My tummy did not go back after having my daughter, and then I had my son and I was down about my body so I tried everything to get my body back.

'I tried personal training sessions, the gym and nothing was working. While looking on YouTube for tummy toning workouts I saw a hula hooping video and it has all gone from there.'

Hannah had found the exercise regime for her and a career in one fell swoop.

The mother-of-three says: 'Before I had my kids I was an air hostess and there was no way I could go back to that with the erratic hours and all the travelling. I needed something that worked around the kids. 

'Being a fitness instructor was perfect and meant I could carry on hooping. I developed a passion for it and decided to start doing my own classes.'

Hannah was invited into the school of her nine-year-old daughter, Angelina, and did a hula hoop workshop.

She says: 'I had only ever done classes for adults and never really had plans to extend to kid's classes but they absolutely loved it. I think having the hoop meant the kids were engaged the whole time.'

Hannah now runs Globe Fit, which she started in September last year, and takes after-school hooping classes at 15 schools across Hampshire with four more starting after Easter.

She says: 'It has gone absolutely crazy and I never had any idea it would be so popular.

'For me it is great that both children and adults are getting active – especially kids as it is hard to get them off the sofa and their iPads nowadays.'

More than 200 children attend hooping classes each week and a group also come along to a three-hour session on a Saturday morning at Fareham College.

Hannah says: 'It is great that we have kids who love it so much that they then come along on Saturday mornings to do extra sessions in acrobatics, hooping skills and choreography.

'The older kids started to get competitive with tricks and skills so we now also have two troupes of children who do more advanced skills and perform.' 

The troupe recently auditioned for ITV's Britain's Got Talent.  Although they did not make it to the judges Hannah is raring to apply again next year.

She says: 'It is something different and unique and I think next year we can have more tricks and skills and get further.

'We have also got to the regional semi finals of Britain Does Variety which is the same premise as the TV show and is a national competition so that is exciting to show people what they can do.'

Hannah's daughter Angelina is one of the girls in the troupe.

Hannah says: 'All the troupe are currently girls but we have a good mix at the after-school clubs of boys as well so I would really like to get some boys into the troupe.

'Angelina just really enjoys it and my two-year-old daughter Adrianna can actually hoop now because she has watched us do it at home. It shows that kids are like sponges and can pick things up really quick.'

There are more than 300 moves including the Z-spin, the hula hoop escalator and the revolving shoulder roll and Globe Fit l also has an expansive range of hoops for its students to experiment with. 

Hannah says: 'There is so much you can do with a hoop and all my instructors are dance and fitness teachers so we have that element that we can add into our routines.

'We have LED hoops which the kids love, heart-shaped hoops and ones that are massive which are really fun.'

Hannah also has an online hooping programme to help those who can't always make classes.    

She says: 'As an adult and a mother I can understand that you can't always get to the gym so I have online classes which are popular.'

Hannah also spoke of the positive mental effect hula hooping is having on her students.

She says: 'Hula hooping is a flow art like juggling and yoga and it is like meditation and you can be in a zone that is calming.

'Mindfulness is a big thing at the moment and this is something that fits that category. In fact one of my students who takes my online hooping class is going through a really rough time and she said doing the hooping along with some breathing exercises is really helping her to de-stress and feel better.

'I think that is so important and just shows how hooping can have a positive effect on not only your physical fitness but also your mental health.'

Hannah wants to expand to venues in Portsmouth and Southampton due to the demand for her classes. There are several waiting lists. 

She says: 'I really want people to know about hooping and all the benefits.

'In a normal gym environment or fitness class it can be intimidating to work out but I have spoken with some of the adults in my classes who say they have anxiety and they would never go to a normal gym class.

'Having a hoop acts like a protective shield and they only think about themselves in the hoop.

'Hooping is for everyone.' 

Eight-year-old Gemma Burns from Stubbington has been hooping since she was four years old and is part of Globe Fit's hula hoop troupe.

 Gemma's mum Karen says: 'Hula is a great activity to keep kids fit and active. 'Gemma started by trying it out as an after-school club, she has progressed since then and is now in the troupe and practices for three hours a week. 'Her confidence has grown since starting hula hooping, she lives the thrill of learning a new trick or routine and when she’s not there she loves to practice at home.' Gemma says: 'My favourite trick is the elevator, it’s really hard to learn but I got it two weeks ago. ‘It’s fun and exciting, I’ve learnt new things and I’ve made lots of new friends and I look forward to seeing them all.' Inspired by her auntie's hula hooping skills, tenyear-old Olivia Cherryman started going to hula hooping classes after school. Olivia, from Lee-on-theSolent, says: It is fun, it's creative, good exercise and I have made friends with a few new people as well.  'The head shoulder stand is probably my favourite and I am also really pleased I can do my four hoop split.' Mum Rowena Cherryman says: 'Olivia was inspired to join by seeing her auntie Ellie practicing. 'She gave it a go, and picked it up quite easily, then the classes at school started, and she hasn't stopped. 'It encourages individual goals, as well as team goals and it keeps them fit whilst being fun.' For more information visit