The Benefits of Spinning Poi

My arms are definitely a trouble area, and I’d love to get a good workout centered around my upper body without weights or expensive equipment. Enter poi.

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Poi spinning is not something I’d ever really considered as a workout. I thought it was just something fun you could do at a club or festival. Like it was more about doing pretty things with lights than about getting exercise. After watching Miss K spin, I’m a believer. It takes coordination, endurance, and practice; I know this now, because I’ve tried it myself (and smacked myself more than a few times).

Poi has a number of health benefits, but I think the biggest one for me is the fact that it’s a fun activity that I can look forward to, rather than a chore that gets added to an exercise regimen. That alone makes it my favorite workout ever. Instead of focusing on losing weight or burning calories, your mind is occupied with learning and perfecting new moves and enjoying the rhythm and pattern of the music and lights.

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If you have a big enough area in your house, you can do some close spinning indoors, but poi is mostly an outdoor activity. It gives you more room to extend your arms and really get into the movements. A number of the more advanced manuevers incorporate martial arts stances, so you’ll want to make full use of your space.

If you setup a good playlist of upbeat music, your poi workout will get your heart rate and breathing up. If I’m getting my whole body into it, I definitely sweat through my shirt by the end of the hour. There’s also no half-assing your moves with poi. If you don’t get your arms extended where they need to be for your move, that ball is going to smack you, so speed, flexibility and stamina are all very important elements to build as you improve at spinning. ¬†Depending on the intensity of your spinning, you could burn anywhere from 200-800 calories per hour.

Work on a good 1-hour session as often as you can manage. This gives time for a warm-up, learning new moves, a good solid block of your more practiced skills, and a mellow cool down. If you can’t get your hands on a set of poi, grab a pair of long socks and either a couple tennis balls or handfuls of rice. I recommend the tennis balls, because you will smack yourself a ton at first. I went straight for the Spin-ballS for my first set. Miss K says that was her first set too, so I already feel like I’ve made a good choice. I’m not up to the point where I feel comfortable investing in the $99 PodPoi, but Spin-ballS are a good starter design. The balls are made from a soft rubber, so if you get hit it will just sting a little.

Check out Miss K giving us an indoor light show at game night.

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