By Alexis Wolfer

Too often we think of exercise as just another chore. And while we hope you make fitness a part of your life, even if only for the health benefits, at The Beauty Bean we believe that exercise should be fun and that it’s only a matter of finding the right workout for you.

Hoping to bring us back to our youth when being physically active came naturally (tag anyone?), Michigan-based personal trainer and group fitness instructor, Rachel Wilkerson, has us turning to one of our favorite childhood pastimes to get us fit: the hula hoop!

Arm workouts you can do anywhere!

Keeping a hula-hoop in action forces you to engage your abdominals and work your back. You’ll instinctively engage your transverse abdominals, which is sort of like your inner corset, wrapping all the way around your abdomen and pulling in your stomach. You’ll also engage your back muscles, which is perfect for building a strong core and even for improving your posture. Plus, the circular motion works your obliques, the muscles on either side of your waist.

If it’s been a while, don’t worry. Start by swinging the hoop clockwise for between 30 and 60 seconds (more if you can!), before resting for 90 seconds and doing it again in a counterclockwise motion. Try to go in each direction five times, adding time to the length of each set as you get stronger. Keep your hands clasped in front of your chest (as if they were wrapped around a tree) to help keep you from swinging your upper body around too much. To further isolate your abs, concentrate on keeping your lower body as steady as you can.

Work your abs at your desk too!

While hula-hoops are inexpensive (and easy to store), if you’re not up for buying one, you can fake it! Just mimic the motion without one by standing with your feet shoulder width apart and moving your hips around ever so slightly while engaging your abs!

Hula-hooping too easy for you? You can purchase a weighted hoop! Although, for beginners, a regular hula-hoop will do just fine!

Need some “Me Time”? Try this!