Coronavirus Good News: Virtual hula hooping class keeps Chicago area women positive, fit

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Home work-outs are increasing in popularity as a result of the state's Stay at Home order.

One Chicago area virtual class is keeping people fit and helping them stay connected during the COVID-19 Crisis.

"Almost all of my students are 60 and older," said Jakki Underwood, Founder of Hoop Fitness 4U. "Hooping helps you with coordination, balance, all those things that you need, stamina."

"It's sort of like when you're doing crunches and you're holding in your stomach muscles or you're doing a plank," hula hooper Donna Miller added. "You're holding in your stomach muscles the same time you're hula hooping. It is hard."

The class has also helped some hoopers who had previous health concerns. Barbara Thomas suffered a stroke and had immense back pain, once she started hooping last year, things changed.

"I had back pain so bad that I had a pain doctor," Thomas said. "I started taking shots every three months and I was just trying to get it together. When I started hooping, my back started to improve. When I bent down, it wasn't hurtful."

In addition to the physical benefits, these women are seeing emotional ones too. Because for many, the class is an opportunity for people to stay connected to others.

"Hooping was a way I could connect three years ago when I started it, but it's broadened my reach to people I normally wouldn't connect with," hooper Charlene Steward said.

Steward lives in Rockford, but she's exercising alongside women who live two hours away in Dolton.

It's that continual access to other people, that maintains a sense of normalcy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"During this time of coronavirus and our stay at home policy, hooping is something that I look forward to every single day," hooper Voncille Henderson said.

"You think about it when you wake up, you think about it when you go to bed," Thomas added. "I have to say that the time that I spend hooping helps me to maintain my sanity."

To learn more about Jakki's Hula Hoop Classes, head to her Facebook Page.

Jalyn Henderson is a Community Journalist at ABC 7 Chicago. She tells stories on the North Side of Chicago in neighborhoods like Uptown, Edgewater, Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, West Ridge and Rogers Park. If you have a story to share in these neighborhoods you can send an email to Jalyn.L.Henderson@abc.com
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