Seniors Discover Sunken Gardens Hoop Dancing Classes Are Not Only Fun, But Great For Fitness

If you grew up having fun with a Hula Hoop, you'll love Hoop Dancing, according to 55-plus-aged residents who attend classes at Sunken Gardens. They have discovered it is not only a joy to do "hooping," but it's great for getting in shape, too.

If you grew up playing with a Hula Hoop in the 1950s or '60s and are looking for a new way to get in shape, we may have the answer for you.

How about taking Hoop Dancing classes at Sunken Gardens?

Hoop Dancing or  “Hooping” is one of the latest trends in fitness exercise. Adults of all ages are taking up this unique form of exercise. Many senior-aged people already know about this tubular toy from their childhood. So those in their 50s and up are almost always among the participants at classes.

This brings us to the first person to bring this new unique form of exercise fitness to Florida.  Her name is Abby Albaum.  Abby is the founder of Hoola Monsters, a dance company dedicated to teaching stduents of all levels hoop dancing. 

One of the unusual locations for Abby’s one-hour classes is among the tropical flora of Sunken Gardens, 1825 Fourth St. North, on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 9 a.m.  When it is too hot or raining, classes move inside.

Cost is $15 for a single class or $80 for an eight-class package.  Advanced registration is not required.

Hoops are provided, but many students have their own, having purchased them from Abby, who makes and sells hoops especially designed for Hoop Dancing.

Unlike the plastic toy Hula Hoop, Abby says that the “Monster Hoops” she creates are “heavier, more durable and easier to use.  Made with irrigation tubing, the hoops are wrapped with friction tape, so the hoop will actually ‘stick’ to your body.”

Each hoop she makes and sells is designed specifically for its owner, taking into account the person’s body size and shape. Abby’s hoops are priced from $32 to $42 and can be purchased online through her website. 

She also sells them at the Saturday Morning Market but not every Saturday.  People can find out when she will be at the market by checking the Hoola Monsters website.

Although women tend to dominate Abby’s Hoop Dancing classes, men also participate, like Northeast St. Petersburg resident, 66-year-old Bud Mucha.  He signed up for the eight-class package for a variety of reasons. 

Through Hoop Dancing he hopes to “improve my balance and mobility.”  A retired Pennsylvania railroad conductor, Bud is also attending classes with the idea of incorporating Hoop Dancing in a skit with his wife, Joyce, at their church.

What attracts a lot of students is that Hoop Dancing is especially good for weight loss.  “You will burn up to 600 calories an hour in one of my Hoop Dancing classes,” Abby noted. Other benefits she cited include: helping to strengthen abdominal muscles, toning arms, legs and thighs, and relieving stress.

These were exactly the kind of benefits 63-year-old Sandra Dixon was looking for when it came to an exercise regiment. Sandra lost her husband about four and a half years ago.  Following his death, in her grief, she sought comfort by turning to food and began packing on the pounds.

Finally, she realized she needed to do something to get off the added weight and became a regular student in Abby’s Hoop Dancing Class a few months ago.

For Sandra, Hoop Dancing is doing more for her than she ever imagined. Not only is it helping her physically, but mentally, too. “I like this class at lot.  This class truly takes into account your mind, body and spirit.”

For more information on Abby’s Hoop Dancing Classes, readers can contact her directly at 813-777-7720 or via e-mail: abby@hoolamonsters.com.








Cece Shatz, My Friends Connect Tampa Bay March 02, 2011 at 10:44 AM
Wow...I don't want to say my age here...but this brings me back. What a wonderful way to enjoy exercise!
Dale Hutchings March 08, 2011 at 07:40 PM
Yes, so if you find exercise often to be more labor than fun, this may be the answer for you. Glad you like this concept. Dale


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