'The hula hoop is the perfect tool for social distancing'
- Credit: Danielle Booden
A young woman from Stowmarket, who was jobless at the start of the first lockdown, has found a new purpose thanks to hula hooping.
In the last year the popularity of hula hooping has grown massively and this week it was even discussed on Good Morning Britain.
But 'hooping' is not a new hobby for Abby Close, 25, - she has been addicted to it since she was 12!
Miss Close said: "When we went into lockdown last year, I was out of work at the time and I had the opportunity to do some research around hula hooping as that was something that was such a big passion of mine."
Having struggled to find any hula hooping classes in Suffolk she decided to start up her own at Stowmarket Community Centre in Combs Ford in September 2020.
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Miss Close added: "My mental health was not very good this time last year because of everything that had happened.
"I find that having my hoop is just a really good way of releasing stress and anxiety."
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"You are focussing on keeping the hula hoop up and it encourages you to put on some boppy music, and that cheesy music really does help."
Though she was only able to run face-to-face classes for a few months before the winter lockdowns, she describes them as 'fantastic' and now broadcasts online across the UK.
Miss Close runs the classes alongside her new job in marketing.
Her outdoor classes should start in April when Covid restrictions are eased further:
Miss Close added: "With the hula hoop you do have a restriction on class sizes but I think that makes people more reassured in a way because they feel safe.
"The hula hoop is the perfect tool for socially distancing as you have got a metre around you."
Having lived in Suffolk for six years Miss Close says that since starting her 'Hula With Abs' classes, she has really started to feel a part of her local community.