this ultra simple tool offers an extremely easy way to stay active

Recently, I tripped over some stairs at home and sprained my ankle. First couch-ridden and eventually cautiously mobile, I’ve been searching for a low-impact way to exercise that won’t aggravate my injury. Lo and behold, what should I discover (or more accurately, re-discover) but a hula hoop?

I’ve found that not only is hula-hooping a great low-impact exercise, but it’s also unexpectedly fun — just as fun as it was decades ago at recess. I can feel myself getting an ab workout with the same enthusiasm that I had as a child wanting to find out how long I could keep the hoop going.

This all makes sense, according to physical therapist Kayla Hamm of the Myodetox corrective exercise center in Los Angeles. “The hula hoop can be a fun way to promote so many positive changes in the body,” Hamm told HuffPost. “Some of these benefits include increased pelvic mobility, better proprioception and core activation, cardiovascular endurance, and increased blood flow throughout the body.”

Hula-hooping is a great low-impact fitness option for folks like me who are recovering from an injury or who have limited mobility, but even if you don’t fall into those categories, it can be a worthwhile addition to your repertoire. “Truly anyone can benefit from incorporating the hula hoop into their exercise routine,” wrote Hamm. In fact, it may be especially helpful for those who are trying to get back into a workout routine. “I would recommend this for anyone having a hard time finding ways to get cardio into their routine as a great non-impact way to sneak this in,” Hamm noted.

I’m also convinced that it’s an especially good time to invest in a hula hoop, since it’s an exercise you can do indoors and away from the cold (I never have been and never will be the type to go on jogs in the snow).

I’ve rounded up some great hula hoop options below so you can start your hooping journey off right. Just keep in mind that the smaller the hoop, the more difficult the workout. Read on for our top hula hoop picks.

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A 3-pound Sports Hoop weighted hula hoop
This is the hula hoop I bought, and it is designed specifically for use while exercising. It’s weighted for an extra fitness boost and is made with foam padding to ensure it’s comfy on hips, as opposed to old-school plastic hoops. It detaches into eight pieces for storage or travel.
A 2-pound weighted hoop
This hula hoop weighs a little less for a slightly more gentle introduction to the sport. It’s also padded and detachable, but this version is also adjustable, so you can remove one of the hoop’s sections to make it smaller and thus more challenging as you get the hang of it.
A super popular Dumoyi hoop
This weighted hoop is a bit of a cult favorite among the chronically online. It functions a little differently than your average hoop: It has 24 detachable links that you can add or remove depending on your waist size, up to 43 inches. Then, you attach one of three soft weighted balls to the hoop, which slide along the track while you hoop. It’s a great adult version of your favorite round hoop and comes in numerous colors.

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