5 Reasons to Add Hula to Your Fitness Workouts

"I've lost 5 pounds in 3 weeks, and the only thing I've done is taken hula classes!", "The waistband of my jeans is getting looser!", and "Yeah, one more tahitian ote'a! I can take it! Woohoo!"

Okay, maybe that last one was a bit of an exaggeration (most students thing the ote'a is a form of torture), but hula fitness stories really are quite common, and as a hula instructor & dancer, I've heard and witnessed many of them. In fact, I credit my hula & tahitian practice with my own weight loss in 2006.
Even Flare Magazine considered hula dance enough of a great workout to include it... and an interview with Yours Truly... in their September 2005 Issue article "Shall We Dance"!

Yes, the hula is much more than a pleasure to watch. Don't let the gentle, fluid movements deceive you. As a workout, it's body-respecting, body-loving, and effective! Here are 5 reasons why your health could benefit from 20 minutes of daily island dance:

1: It builds beautiful lean muscles.

A common complaint from my new students after the first class is "My muscles were SO sore after that class!" Yes, it takes muscles to move those arms and hands to tell a story! You will feel soreness in the upper arms (deltoids), and depending on how deeply you bend your knees for each kaholo (the popular basic traveling hula movement), you'll also give your lower body a blast.

2: It packs a great cardiovascular punch.

My dancers are always amazed at how out-of-breath they are after a 30 minute show! Make your own half hour hula dance CD and burn 119 calories every workout...
-->double that if you mix in some short blasts of fast tahitian ote'a (each song is about 1.5 minutes of intense hip shakes). And you get that all without the joint-jarring common with other high-impact workouts.For my own workout, I created a high-intensity interval training hula CD for myself by putting in an ote'a song after every 2 hula songs. Just 20 minutes of that, and I'm done!

3: It's a weight-bearing, bone-building activity.

The continual kaholo is just like walking, and one of the many health benefits of walking is its ability to turn around rapid bone loss that occurs in menopausal women.

4: It helps build grace and coordination.

Whether you're an experienced dancer or a novice, you should always start your hula education at the beginner level. Why? Because the hula makes you use muscles that most likely have never been used in combination before. Many of us call it waking your hula muscles.
With every part of your body doing something different, many times in opposite directions, you'll find your coordination and balance challenged and strengthened.

In time, you'll find yourself walking taller with more body awareness and with panther-like grace.

5: It's fun!

Your hula workout can be as varied as the numerous hula songs and mele out there! Mixing it up with tahitian numbers, dancing with friends, and even performing for loved ones offers options that can make your hula workout unique every time!

Want to try it out? Check out our list of halau hula for a school near you, or you can try one of these great DVDs:

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