If you walked by the Halifax Common after dusk this summer, you might have seen strange glowing circles swirling in unison as they hovered low over the ground.
It was not a formation of UFOs, but a hula-hoop jam organized by Hula Nova Hoops, and the dozen or so participants were using hoops equipped with fluorescent LED lights.
Hula hooping is huge in the United States and Australia, but organizer Stephanie Balcom just started this group in the spring of 2013. The regular jams on the Common began this summer and that helped spark interest, as did doing it outside. “There’s so much more room outside and you feel so much more free,” Balcom says.
In warm weather, they met every Thursday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. near the fountain on the North Common.
Balcom said it’s great cardio exercise, especially for people who are looking for something low impact that provides an opportunity to socialize, too. “You pick up the hoop, and you don’t even realize that you’re exercising,” Balcom says.
Hula hooping can burn between 400 and 600 calories per hour and helps tone core muscles, too. The group plans to bundle up and keep going into the fall as long as the weather allows and then will move into the Shambhala School on Thursday nights.