Parks and Rec class proposes new spin on fitness with a piece of childhood nostalgia

Justin Udo
February 02, 2019 - 4:00 am
Philadelphians are moving and grooving at an innovative hula hoop exercise class, led by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.

Justin Udo/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — About a year ago, Janice Barbour had a realization: "I'm out of shape."

So she decided to do something about it. She started taking hula hoop dancing classes at the Hawthorne rec center in South Philadelphia.

"I was trying to find some fitness that could one, fit into my schedule, two, be a little different because I never stay with anything," she said.

Barbour said it introduced her to a whole new form of exercise she never knew existed.

"I hooped as a kid, but just the standard around your hip," she said. "Nowhere near the feet, and the dancing and everything like that."

Barbour is among many Philadelphians who are moving and grooving at the innovative exercise class, where Tara Adelizzi is the hula hoop instructor with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. She said Wednesday night's hour-long class is something you have to experience to truly appreciate the workout and fun you can have with a hula hoop.

"There are also tricks," she said. "There is a bit of dancing too; we do it to music. The sky is the limit when it comes hula hooping. You can do two, you can do three, you can do four."

Adelizzi said the class is also about bringing people together.

"We kind of have our own little community here learning together and taking care of their bodies and their minds," she added. "Everyone is kind of here for a different reason."

Barbour said besides the exercise and picking up a new hobby, she's also been able to make some new friends.

"People of all ages, sizes, physical abilities — just a wide variety of people coming. It's a nice thing."

The class takes place Wednesdays at 1200 Carpenter St. from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. To register, call 215-685-1848.