Hoop Dreams

first_imgMy mom was right. After age 40, things begin to shift. My waistbands feel a bit tighter, and my c-section scar seems to bulge out a little more than usual. I don’t feel quite as comfortable running in just a jog bra and shorts—a conservative singlet seems more appropriate. Although running is great for maintaining overall fitness, the fact is, it doesn’t do much for the belly area.I guess I could cut down on my daily ice cream intake, but that doesn’t feel like a great option. Of course there are the various attempts I have made at core strengthening exercises—doing yoga at sunrise, practicing Pilates in front of the TV at night, even squeezing in two minutes of push-ups and crunches in between meetings at work. My husband is a dedicated practitioner of core work: every evening he comes home from work and heads straight down to the basement to knock it out. Me, I’m not so disciplined. If I’m going to do core exercises, I want immediate results. If that’s not possible, it had better at least be fun.Given my resistance to any sort of formal core work, imagine my excitement when my friend Barbara invited me to a beginner’s hula hoop class. I checked out the website, which promised that hooping would “tone and strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, and develop core strength.” One of the testimonials described hooping as “a fun way to lose weight, get in shape and feel good about yourself, all while you are having fun!” Okay, I thought, I’m not the most coordinated kid on the block, but I’ll give it a try.When we arrived at the studio, we were immediately greeted by dozens of beautiful, brightly colored hoops. It was obvious that these weren’t the hoops of our childhood. There were weighted hoops, glow-in-the-dark hoops with LED lights, and hoops filled with water. Before getting to take any for a test spin, however, we learned a bit about the history and culture of hooping. That’s right—it’s not called hula hooping any more. The activity—part sport, part dance—that has been around for thousands of years (Egyptians made hoops out of grapevines 3,000 years ago) and became a pop craze in the United States in the late 50s has evolved into much more. It is now a culture, brought back in the mid-90s by The String Cheese Incident. Hoping to get more people dancing at their shows, members of the jam band threw dozens of hoops into the crowd at the Telluride Music Festival, igniting a movement that is now present at festivals and shows across the country.From the looks of our teacher, professional hooper Melanie MacNeil, Barb and I were in for more than an exercise class. Decked out in bright shimmering clothing that revealed elaborate tattoos underneath, she moved with a dancer’s grace. Melanie began by teaching us beginner’s moves, the spinning hoops and swaying hips that we remembered from childhood. Nothing to it, I thought, especially using Mel’s custom-made, adult-sized hoops. Just when I was thinking I had conquered the hoop, however, she upped the ante and added more complex movements. Hooping with our eyes closed. Hooping while walking. Hooping on one leg. Putting our arms inside the hoop and easing the hoop up to our necks. How was it that she made it all look so easy, so fluid? We were supposed to holler or make a silly noise every time our hoop hit the ground, and soon yelling and laughter overshadowed the funky music accompanying our dance.After an hour of hooping, we were all sweaty, tired, and exhilarated. It was easy to understand how this child’s toy could also be a workout tool. The circular motion of hooping gets all of your core muscles working, including muscles in your abdomen, back, pelvis, and hips. Even my arms were burning. Still, the feeling was different than that you get from a typical gym workout. Maybe it was the music, maybe the moves, the likes of which one NPR commentator described as, “sexy, gymnastic, and mystical”—whatever it was, I felt relaxed and young again.Professional hoopers like Melanie know full well about the emotional and spiritual aspects of hooping. For her, viewing hooping as a fitness routine would be like Tiger Woods describing golf as his hobby. Melanie’s passion for hooping has been a journey that has allowed her to follow her heart’s work of promoting movement as a mode to physical, emotional, and spiritual health. In addition to the physical benefits, she talks about how hooping “creates a mind-body awareness, increases personal empowerment and inward focus, breaks down the ego, and opens channels of energy.” How many exercise programs do all this?Now, armed with my custom-made glittery pink and black hoop, I can be seen practicing my moves in the yard nearly every afternoon. My abs are sore, my hips and legs are bruised from the hoop banging against them (yes, it’s possible to spin the hoop on your legs; no, that’s not what I was trying to do). My daughter says I’m embarrassing myself in front of the entire neighborhood, but I don’t care—it’s fun. Will I develop abs of steel? Maybe. Will I develop into a hooping goddess like Melanie, with flowing, mystical moves? Probably not. But I will have fun as I try. •Melanie MacNeil teaches hoop classes in Asheville and performs across the Southeast: www.ashevillehoops.com.last_img read more

Townsville’s top family suburb

first_imgHow to find a good tenant. iStock. For Leader Realestate feature 15JAN18ALICE River has been named as the most popular place for families to live in Townsville but the suburb does not come cheap, costing about $469,000 to buy a home.The semi-rural suburb was named as the top area for families in a report released by Aussie and Core Logic.Census data and housing market statistics were used to determine the most popular locations for families and the typical cost of purchasing a home in those areas.In Alice River, 58.7 per cent of households had children while the median house value was $468,831, well above the Townsville median house price of $340,000.Alice River has mostly acreage blocks and contains the popular Mount Margaret estate.In second place was Mount Low with 56.2 per cent of family households while the cost of owning a home was significantly lower with the median house value at $353,323.Rounding out the top three was Bushland Beach with 56.1 per cent of family households and a median house value of $374,285.Ray White Kirwan agent Craig Currie, who specialises in the Alice River area, said families could have a big block in Alice while still being close to amenities.“You get a bit of extra space out here and a bit more freedom as well as extra storage for all the toys,” he said.More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020“It’s a really good community and only around 10 per are rentals. The rest is owner-occupiers.”Mr Currie said Alice River also hadn’t experienced the crash in property prices of other Townsville suburbs.He attributes the hardy market to the high number of owner-occupiers who have held on to their properties during the downturn compared with investors, who wanted to get out and were selling at a loss in suburbs closer to the city. According to Core Logic housing statistics, the median price of a house in Townsville has gone down by 2 per cent whereas in Alice River the median house price has jumped 7.3 per cent. Mount Margaret development manager Shane Martin said Alice River offered an idyllic lifestyle for families.“There are big blocks out here for a start and every neighbourhood has its own playground,” he said.“There is a low crime rate out here and it’s just has that vibe of being a really family-oriented area.”According to the report, 71 per cent of all households nationwide are characterised as families or households where the occupants are related by blood, marriage, adoption, step or fostering.The report focused on areas around Australia, including Townsville, that are most popular with families with children whether it be couples with children or single-parent families.last_img read more

Cricket News Pakistan Playing Matches In UAE Not An Option Anymore: Cricket Board CEO

first_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. New Delhi: The Pakistan Cricket Team have endured a torrid decade ever since the terror attack on the Sri Lanka team in March 2009 stopped international tours to the country. Many international teams have refused to tour the country and Pakistan were forced to play their ‘home’ series in the United Arab Emirates. However, in the interim, some teams did tour the country. Zimbabwe ended Pakistan’s international isolation when they toured for three ODIs in 2015 and this was followed by tours by the ICC World XI, the West Indies team, Sri Lanka in 2017. Now, the Sri Lankan cricket team will play three ODIs and three T20Is after much deliberation over the security of the country. Looking at the situation, Pakistan Cricket Board CEO Wasim Khan has said playing matches in the UAE is’not an option’ anymore as they look to cut down on costs and capitalise on the improving security situation at home. “It costs us a lot of money hosting there. Frankly speaking the security situation has improved in Pakistan and security experts have also assessed that we are in a position to manage security risks while hosting teams in the country,” PCB CEO Wasim Khan said, adding that Pakistan had not paid any money to the Sri Lankan team to tour the country. Also Read | Kamran Akmal, Pakistan Wicketkeeper Is Better Than Adam Gilchrist – Here Is Statistical ProofPakistan has expressed interest to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to play Test matches in the World Test Championship against them at home and not in a neutral venue. However, in the case of India, the PCB CEO wanted the resumption of bilateral ties and also proposed that matches between India and Pakistan can take place in a neutral venue. Also Read | Misbah-ul-Haq Highlights Key Factors Behind Pakistan Team Selection For Sri Lanka Series”If they also express the desire to play against us we would be willing to even play at a neutral venue as it is important that India and Pakistan play cricket. Cricket is a great way of bringing people together and cricket should remain cricket. We will play with India. I will be happy to explore possibilities of playing them,” Wasim Khan said. The first match of the series against Sri Lanka will begin on September 27 and it will three ODIs at the National Stadium in Karachi. The ODI series will be followed by an three-match Twenty20 International series which will take place in Lahore. last_img read more