Hoopers can be an obsessive lot. Who can blame us? What's not to love about something that brings us joy, dance, community, fun, peace, and confidence? Certainly I have been obsessed with the hoop since I first picked it up in March 2012.
But now I am discovering the dark side of my hoop obsession.
I have a hooping injury. I’ve had low-level discomfort up and down my right arm for the past month, which has risen to pain, stiffness and tingling this week.
I’ve had repetitive strain injuries before – not uncommon for journalists and writers – but this is altogether different. This is not confined to pain in my lower arm; it’s the entire arm from the shoulder blade to the palm, and it’s a variety of different sensations.
And it gets worse, much worse, after I hoop.
It’s my own fault. I’ve always known I needed to look after my body. Hooping is great cardio exercise but it does not stretch your body or strengthen it. I was so obsessed with hooping that I had no interest in doing any other exercise. I’ve also neglected to hoop on both sides of my body, meaning that my dominant side has taken most of the strain.
Now I face the prospect of not being able to hoop for some time, which makes me very sad.
If you are a hooper, please look after your body. Do yoga, stretch, lift weights, and learn every move you possibly can in your non-dominant direction to keep your body balanced, strong and healthy for years to come.
Happy [and safe] hooping,