It's been 75 years since Wham-O became one of our favorite things to do, but Frisbee, Hacky Sack, Slip N Slide and Hula Hoop are still going strong! Established in 1948, Wham-O's portfolio of fun activity products is more relevant than ever as we look for reasons to break away from our ever-growing collection of gadgets and seek more physically challenging pursuits.
M&F spoke to company President Todd Richard's to reflect on how Wham-O is asserting its place in popular culture.
"Wham-O items make for fun outdoor activities for all ages," says Richards, who admits that staff summer outings regularly revolve around Frisbee Fridays.
Did you know that the humble frisbee can help you burn over 200 calories an hour? And if you're super competitive and playing "Ultimate" Frisbee, which traditionally pits teams of seven against each other, you could burn about 573 calories in the same period.
But best of all, playing with Wham-O products never feels like a prescribed exercise. One of Richard's personal favorite products is the Morey Boogie Board. "It's the essence of California beach life!" he says. Boogie or bodyboarding is also great for your cardiovascular health and also helps increase muscle strength. "For great cardio and core exercises, try our stand-up paddleboards," adds Richards. But who thinks about making a profit while surfing? Therein lies the beauty of making exercise a part of your lifestyle!
Ditch the digital and head outside for some family fun
Fortunately, the Wham-O activities are not lost in the digital age. Despite the distractions of Netflix, Twitch, and countless other streaming services, Richards shares that ultimate frisbee, frisbee golf, boogie boarding, and surfing are hugely popular activities in the teen market. These physically demanding sports are firmly entrenched in popular culture and passed down from generation to generation. "Wham-O items are great for family gatherings and outings," he says. "Like a party in the garden or park, or a day at the beach or lake."
Playing active games with friends and family is great fun, of course, but physical activity has other benefits as well. You may not be aware of the productive hours you spend training your heart and muscles while taking on exciting challenges, and this helps as you will soon reach the recommended weekly goal of 150 minutes of exercise per week without noticing it, which leads to better health outcomes, such as a reduced risk of heart disease or type 2 diabetes.
Are you looking for a new way to get your heart pumping? "Our hula hoop will make you sweat!" says Richards. The first hula hoops were released in 1958 and have rocked the world ever since until I do them and burn about 200 calories for a 30 minute session.
As President of Wham-O, Richards literally holds the keys to the toy store and is also a big fan of the Super Ball, the bouncing rubber ball released by Wham-O in 1964. According to reports, McGeorge Bundy, a US citizen National Security Advisor to John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, once had 60 Super Balls sent to the White House to entertain staff. And our addiction to the Superball continues to this day. "The bouncing energy makes you play with it and you just can't stop," Richards enthuses.
Wham-O's mission includes a commitment to "bringing people together and encouraging Arthur "Spud" Melin's sense of community through play." What began as a small company founded by Richard Knerr in 1948 is now a household brand and in honor of its 75th anniversary Wham-O have released special editions of these classic products to sit alongside newer challenges. So, no matter your age, whether you're traveling to hotter climates, or ready for some snow, you might want to reconnect with some fun fitness and try Wham-O online.