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Al Serkal Avenue at 9pm can be pretty desolate, and when I got there on a Monday night, I wondered if there was indeed a fitness jam session in progress anywhere around. But an odd car or two drove in, and following them I reached The Fridge, whose empty warehouse comes alive every week with house music and hula-hooping and poi jam sessions.
According to a Reuters report, research by the American Council on Exercise suggests that one hour of hula-hooping can burn up to 600 calories. The exercise, often thought of as child's play, offers a full body workout that can be of low or high impact depending on the speed of hooping and the routine designed by the instructor. Meanwhile, poi, with its origins in Maori culture, involves spinning and swinging tethered weights on the ends of a string — also called poi. That is the basic version — fire dancing and glow sticking are also types of poi. It's an energetic performance art form that enhances coordination, balance and flexibility and can be a fun-filled version of high-intensity strength and endurance training.
Organised by Flowground, a hula-hooping fitness brand started by Teeba, the Monday night jams are free-flowing sessions where everyone picks up a hoop and gets started. ''Everybody here is a teacher and a student, so there's more scope for interaction,'' she says. As the evening wears on, the space starts filling up with enthusiastic hoopers, and the session goes on until around 11pm.
Other than regular classes, Flowground organizes various kinds of workshops for all hooper levels at the nearly 200-sq-m space. For instance, an upcoming workshop will teach you to head and shoulder-hoop with ease. Classes include a six-week adult session for beginners. ''This course will take you through hoop dance essentials including waist and hip hooping, recovery, stalls, reverses, lifts, passes, fancy footwork, and off-body tricks, while simultaneously developing your own style of hoop flow,'' says Teeba. There are poi flow courses too, packaged into six, ten or 12 classes.
I decided to give hooping a shot. As a beginner, I naturally had issues with keeping the hoop going for longer than a few seconds, but as time went by and I became used to the rhythm of the music, I got a lot better and even managed to move a little while hooping. It is no joke. Hooping demands constant front and back movement — I was panting every couple of minutes — and because you use your entire core to balance the hoop, the abs and chest workout is amazing. Also, the more you stay on your feet, the more calories you burn, and the goal is to build your stamina to keep the hoop twirling as long as possible.
Flowground's Monday jams are free — it only requests a voluntary donation of Dh30, which goes to charity. That's a potential 1,200 calorie-burning workout to great music and surrounded by friendly people. You can also buy accessories, hoops and poi socks at Flowground to practise at home.
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Source: Tania Bhattacharya, Subeditor, Property Weekly
This section features lesser-known places and events that are delightfully distinct in their own way. It could be a quaint little café or simply a charming lake. If it's got character and brings a smile to your face, it's a hidden gemthat will find a place on this page. If you know of a hidden gem, email the Editor at: email@example.com