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Hula hoops and health in Rock Hill

Rain thrummed against the roof and sloshed through the parking lot outside St. John's United Methodist Church. But all that water didn't dampen the festive mood inside, as hundreds of people from the community and beyond gathered to embrace Abundant Health through hula-hooping, dance-fitness, health booths and more.

Hulapalooza is a part of the Abundant Health program and is supported by your donations to Advance #3021770.

Last Spring, in Rock Hill South Carolina as well as in New York, Berlin and locations throughout Zimbabwe, United Methodists gathered for the denomination's Hulapalooza, a morning dedicated to embracing health and wellness—and the kickoff for the Abundant Health Initiative. The kick off date was planned to coincide with World Health Day.

"It went great," said Jenifer Crawford, director of Christian education at St. John's, who helped organize the Rock Hill event with member and dietician Lacy Ngo. "I heard lots of positive comments, and people loved being able to take home the hula hoops. It was fun!"

At the Rock Hill event, participants got the chance to decorate hula hoops, then got tips and tricks on how to use them, as well as learned aerobics and line dancing from two local teachers—one aged 80. They also got to play hula hoop games, visit booths about fitness and healthy eating, do spinal screenings and blood pressure checks, and much more.

Denise Hadley, who lives in the area, saw the signs and took her two younger kids to Hulapalooza.

"I think it's great," Hadley said, watching her kid's race around with a roomful of children and adults enjoying everything from a bounce house to a hoop jump.

Hadley said it's critical that kids—and adults—understand the importance of staying fit and active. She said her oldest son, now 23, was a hermit who stayed in his room playing video games when he was young, "But not these kids. They're always active between dance and baseball … always something."

Thanks to Hulapalooza, she hopes they'll also understand why it's important to stay active throughout their lives, not just while they're young.

Dylan, 11, said he already knew how to hula hoop, but he learned some new skills that day—like how to hula hoop around his neck.

"It's fun to be healthy. I think most people should know more about it. There are kids I know who sit down on the couch for five hours and watch a show with a big bag of chips!" Dylan said. "If you're fit and healthy, you can do more, and you have more energy and stuff, and you can run around. For me, I love climbing trees, and you can't do that if you're not healthy and strong."

Jessica Brodie, editor, South Carolina United Methodist Advocate newspaper

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