A lady stretching on the pier

Mindful Movement in the Midst of Quarantine Mayhem

If you’re finding it difficult to stay motivated during these trying times, you are not alone. Everyone faces unique concerns daily, but now we all share the added stress of worrying about our own health and that of our loved ones — all of which might make us feel overwhelmed by what seems like the weight of the world on our shoulders.

No matter your situation, I want to remind you that your fears, frustrations, or any other feelings you are experiencing, are valid. While social distancing and quarantine function to limit exposure and spread of the virus, these protocols also keep us from the people, activities, and places that might have previously served as our stress-relief from day-to-day matters. Nonetheless, it is imperative that we continue to look after our health – not just physical, but also our mental and emotional well-being.

Although physical activity is typically associated with physical health, the mental health benefits of physical activity have been widely researched. For some, it might seem that tending to our mental health is not a priority, but doing so can improve our emotional states and make a less-than-ideal situation more manageable. Here are some tips for staying active, healthy, and safe at home:

1. Listen to your mind and body.

Finding the motivation to get off your couch, change out of the oversized t-shirt you’ve been sporting for longer than you’d like to admit, and completing an at-home workout feels like searching for a needle in a haystack these days. Still, we should strive to fit movement into our routine in whatever form that may be and for however long you desire.

In my experience, sticking to a routine and practicing mindful movement have made a huge difference in my quarantine workout consistency. Some days I’m energized and enjoy the adrenaline and challenge of a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout; other days I’m feeling restless and physically drained, and find release in stretching or taking a socially distanced walk around my neighborhood. The key is being in tune with what your mind needs and what your body can handle.

2. Keep it fun.

For many of us, what we miss most about our gym is the community. If you find it easier to stick to a workout routine with a buddy, reach out to a friend to set up a zoom date.

Also, check out UCLA Recreation’s virtual fitness classes. Recreation is offering a free virtual group fitness pass, which features a diversity of classes such as yoga, total body workouts, HIIT, dance, pilates, and martial arts sessions offered through Zoom, Facebook and Instagram Live. You’re guaranteed to find a class that suits your interests.

3. Be kind to yourself.

We are our own harshest critics, and it’s dangerously easy to fall into the trap of comparison. Our minds tend to focus only on our own shortcomings, failing to acknowledge our strengths, and leaving us feeling like we are never doing enough. As our situation stands, we don’t have access to the gym, and the availability, diversity and quality of food varies from person to person. Overall, much of our situation is out of our control.

Right now, our priorities should be to get through this difficult time in good health, so be kind to yourself. Don’t make an already stressful situation worse by bullying yourself, because your body is doing the best it can, and in the end you’ll be grateful.


Nicole Dominguez is an undergraduate student at UCLA studying Psychobiology. In addition to blogging for the MoveWell pod, Nicole enjoys being outdoors, journaling, and working out with her family. Her favorite quarantine pastime is zooming with friends and listening to live music sets together.

Woman doing a sit up

New Year’s Resolutions: Do they work?

With the start of the new year, talk about New Year’s Resolutions has stirred up once again. Whether it’s purchasing a gym membership, running a marathon for the first time, or finally trying out a group exercise class you’ve been eyeing — goals related to “fitness” tend to be very popular. At the same time, it is widely joked that resolutions are usually abandoned relatively early in the new year. Here are some reasons why resolutions fail, as well as some tips on how you can crush your goals in 2020.

Why New Year’s Resolutions fail:

1. You’re not having fun.

For some, an effective workout is associated with whatever is the most energetically expensive, or whatever burns the most calories. However, this view of movement is beside the point. Numerous studies have shown that meditative movement, such as yoga and Tai Chi, produce many of the same physical and psychological benefits associated with more dynamic forms of exercise. In some cases, meditative movement has even produced better outcomes in treating anxiety and depression than other forms of exercise. My point: if you don’t enjoy your choice of movement, then you’re probably not going to stick to it in the long-run.

2. You’re setting unrealistic goals.

If making time for at least one workout a week is already a struggle, chances are the new year won’t suddenly inspire a commitment to a full week of workouts. By setting overly ambitious goals, you also set yourself up to feel guilty and disillusioned the day you break your streak.

3. You don’t have a plan.

If you do not have a plan to support your goal, it becomes very difficult to stay on track to reach that goal. Add the anxiety that can come with navigating a new environment, such as the gym, and achieving a new year’s goal becomes a daunting task.

4. You’re basing your progress on aesthetic goals.

As you pursue your new year’s goals, keep in mind that changes to one’s physique usually happen much slower than one would hope. Furthermore, slight fluctuations in weight and/or one’s physical appearance are considered normal. These fluctuations can be the result of a number of factors, such as changes to one’s diet, fluid intake, and hormone circulation. It is for this reason that one should not rely on physical appearance to serve as their primary motivator to be more physically active — it’s unpredictable.

A notebook with goals, plans, and an action

How you can meet your goals:

1. Find something you’re excited about.

Think about it — why do most people look forward to the weekend? It normally means a short break from school, work, or other responsibilities that occupy one’s weekdays. Instead of having your workout add to your daily to-do list, have it serve the purpose of providing you with a much-needed break from your day’s work. Not only does movement have the potential to improve cardiovascular health, strengthen bones, as well as increase balance and coordination; but also, studies show that physically active individuals report higher quality sleep, a greater reduction in depressive symptoms, and lower burn-out rates than their physically inactive counterparts.

2. Set short-term goals.

Don’t fall into the trap of false-hope syndrome. If your new year’s resolution is to complete 10 unassisted pull-ups, but at the moment you can only complete 1 unassisted pull-up, then you’re going to have to build up to your goal. Set conservative, short-term goals, keeping your long-term goal in mind.

3. Create a plan.

If your goal is to begin weight training, think about how you would like to fit your workouts into your week. By doing so, you ensure you’re always prepared with a workout, instead of having to come up with one on-the-fly. Read up on different training splits, test them out, and pick your favorite or whatever works best with your lifestyle.

4. Focus on performance-based progress.

While the scale does tell you whether or not your weight has changed, the number displayed says nothing about changes in muscle mass or body fat percentage. In one study, participants who made the transition towards a more physically active lifestyle marked their success by a shift in mindset, from one that was weight-focused, towards one motivated by the health benefits associated with physical activity. Shifting one’s focus from physical appearance towards health and performance produces longevity, as opposed to short-term motivation. Set performance-based goals, such as shaving down your 5K run time, or adding weight to your compound lifts. Here is a list of free apps you can use to track your progress.

5. Be adaptable.

Understand that change is not a linear process, and creating habits takes time. Be mentally prepared for both the good days and the bad days. Push when you can, and rest when you need. As long as you are consistent, you’ll be setting new goals a year from now.

Interested in checking your New Year’s progress? UCLA Recreation is hosting free fitness assessments on February 19, 2020 at the Sunset Plaza Dorms from 11 AM – 1 PM. Fitness assessments are conducted by UCLA Recreation’s certified personal trainers and consist of muscular endurance and cardiovascular evaluations, as well as movement screenings and flexibility tests. The event is open to all UCLA students, staff and faculty, but space is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot through the UCLA Rec website!


Nicole Dominguez is an undergraduate student at UCLA studying Psychobiology. In addition to blogging for the MoveWell pod, Nicole is getting certified as a personal trainer through UCLA Recreation’s Fitness Leadership Program. In her free time, Nicole enjoys lifting weights, watching YouTube, and spending time with family and friends.

Students practicing their planking

Online vs In-Person Fitness Training: Which is Right for You?

Interested in kick-starting your fitness routine but have no idea where to start? With the craze surrounding fitness social media influencers and the plethora of workout programs available for purchase online, deciding what is right for you can be overwhelming. Long gone are the days of having to step into the gym to seek the advice and guidance of a personal trainer. But is this movement away from in-person training and towards online fitness training a good thing? Let’s take a closer look.

Pros of In-Person Training:

  1. Certification. In general, personal trainers that work in commercial gyms have completed an online or in-class personal training course and exam required to receive their certification and be hired. According to the National Federation of Personal Trainers, with knowledge in human anatomy, basic nutrition, as well as in functional movement and exercise science fundamentals, certified personal trainers help individuals reach their fitness goals through coaching and by writing workout programs for their clients. Essentially, certification guarantees that your personal trainer has completed the minimum formal training required to help you achieve your goals.
  2. Real-time form correction. This is especially important for beginning resistance trainees. A personal trainer can teach you how to perform an exercise correctly, saving you the trouble of having to correct bad habits later on, as well as reducing your risk of injury.
  3. Accountability. A personal trainer not only programs workouts to match your fitness goals, but he or she also makes sure you’re not skipping any reps or sets specified in your program.
  4. Social Benefit. In a study comparing the effects of group exercise and exercising on one’s own, researchers found that group exercise led to a “statistically significant decrease in perceived stress and increase in physical, mental, and emotional quality of life.” In general, trainees work with personal trainers for extended periods of time, and naturally a personal relationship that goes beyond that of student and teacher develops as each individual interacts with and learns more about the other.

Cons of In-Person Training:

  1. Expensive. The average cost of personal training in Los Angeles is $49 per session, and nationwide it ranges from $49-$164 per session.
  2. Scheduling. Depending on how busy your days are, it can be difficult to set up a training schedule that fits both you and your trainer’s availability, as well as the gym hours.
  3. Nutrition. Most people tend to underestimate the importance of nutrition in reaching their goals. Personal trainers, unless they are certified nutritionists, are not qualified to give nutritional/diet advice.
  4. Variable quality. Not all personal trainers nor certifications are created equal. Some personal trainers have additional certification/education that goes beyond the minimum required to be considered a certified personal trainer, and others have years of experience helping various types of clients reach their goals.

Pros of Online Fitness Training:

  1. Diversity. If you look hard enough, you are almost guaranteed to find a program that suits your goals and lifestyle. For example, if you struggle to work out because you don’t have access or time to get to the gym, there are numerous at-home, bodyweight workout programs that do not require the use of any equipment.
  2. Instant access. Once you pay for your subscription or purchase a program, it is instantly available for you to review.
  3. Flexible scheduling. You don’t have to worry about scheduling around your personal trainer’s availability because you will be completing the program on your time.
  4. Affordability. Although the price of online workout programs is highly variable, it tends to be significantly cheaper than having to pay a personal trainer for the same amount of workouts as provided in the program.

Cons of Online Fitness Training:

  1. Not personalized. The program is written to guide a very wide range of individuals to a similar goal. The program does not take into consideration your exercise background nor injury history the way a personal trainer would.
  2. No form checks. You will most likely rely on videos to show you how to perform an exercise, but you generally won’t have anyone to correct you as you perform the movement.
  3. Less accountability. On mentally and/or emotionally exhausting days, you might decide it’s okay to skip a rep, set, or even an entire workout. Without anyone there to push you, the temptation to cheat your program is large.
  4. Questionable credibility. As is the case with any information you find on the internet, the credibility of online programs is highly variable. Before putting down any money, ask for references, read reviews, and ensure that the person who has written/created your program of choice is certified and experienced.

How do you decide between in-person or online fitness training?

  1. What is your level of experience? Beginner trainees usually need to learn basic exercise form, need help with programming, and might need the encouragement of an in-person personal trainer. However, in-person personal training is also beneficial for intermediate and even advanced trainees. For example, a competitive powerlifter experiencing a strength plateau might seek the expertise of a coach in order to restimulate strength progression.
  2. Is scheduling an issue? People with busy, unpredictable schedules might be better suited for online fitness programs. Also, intermediate to advanced trainees who have already built a strong foundation in their choice of movement might find that an online workout program tailored to their goal would be the best investment of their time and money.
  3. What are your priorities? As one can see, there are pros and cons to each approach to fitness training. Ultimately, the choice comes down to what your priorities are, and what risks you are willing to take.


Interested in seeing where your fitness stands? You’re in luck: UCLA Recreation will be providing free fitness assessments on November 14th, 2019 at the Court of Sciences from 11 AM – 1 PM. Fitness assessments are conducted by UCLA Recreation’s certified personal trainers and consist of muscular endurance and cardiovascular evaluations, as well as movement screenings and flexibility tests. The event is open to all UCLA students, staff and faculty, but space is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot through the UCLA Rec website!


Nicole Dominguez is an undergraduate student at UCLA studying Psychobiology. In addition to blogging for the MoveWell pod, Nicole is getting certified as a personal trainer through UCLA Recreation’s Fitness Leadership Program. In her free time, Nicole enjoys lifting weights, watching YouTube, and spending time with family and friends.


Bruins Step To It Part 3: 24 Ways to Walk the Walk

People often underestimate the power of a simple walk. We not only walk to get to where we want to go, we walk to clear our heads, get exercise, and enjoy the scenery. This blog is part 3 of Bruins Step To It, a three part blog series on walking. Part 3, the last of our series, will explore easy ways to make walking a part of our lives!

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Walking at work

  1. Want to make a dull meeting more active? Have a walking meeting! Studies have shown that divergent thinking, such as brainstorming new projects, coming up with creative solutions to problems, and exchanging ideas, is increased when walking.
  2. Have a break? Take those 10 minutes to refresh your mind and take in fresh air outside.
  3. Experiencing jet lag? Walking outdoors will help you adjust to the time zone.
  4. Tree hugger? Help the planet by using a combination of public transportation and walking for your commute.
  5. Need to call or send a quick memo to a coworker? Head on over to their workspace and talk to them in person!
  6. Drive to work? Park your car farther away in the parking lot and get those steps in.
  7. Long call scheduled? Walk and talk!

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Walking for clarity

  1. Binge-watching a show? Break the cycle and walk around the block to restart your productivity.
  2. Feeling upset? Walking will uplift your mood and calm you down!
  3. Need inspiration in the kitchen? Stroll around the grocery store rather than having groceries delivered.
  4. Cluttered house? Set aside 30 minutes a day for house work or chores and increase your steps without leaving the space.


Walking for engagement

  1. Catching up with a friend? Go for a walk rather than sitting for coffee at a shop.
  2. Weighed down by the concrete jungle? Go on an adventure to find green space near you.
  3. Love podcasts? Increase your walking and listening time in one go!
  4. Passionate about cleaning up the environment? Walk around looking for and picking up litter. Bruin style #trashtag!
  5. Dog lover? Ask a neighbor if you can walk their dog. Put some extra money in your pocket and become a professional walker on the Wag app.
  6. Looking for new friends? Join a hiking group and explore nature.
  7. Dinner date? Instead of picking a restaurant ahead of time, walk around downtown to scout out something new.

UCLA2015-10Walking with Tech

  1. Have a competitive spirit? Download the StepBet app and bet on yourself to reach your walking goals.
  2. Feeling charitable? The Charity Miles app will donate to your chosen organizations for your walking efforts!
  3. Love globetrotting? World Walking gives you virtual walking routes from around the world.
  4. People person? Help someone with social anxiety or someone who wants a walking companion while getting paid with the People Walker app.
  5. Data driven? The Walkmeter measures time, distance, calories, steps, heart rate, pace, split times and elevation while flexing your stats.
  6. Goal oriented? A variety of tracking apps can help you reach your walking goals.


And that’s a wrap on Bruins Step To It! We hope you enjoyed the series and learned more about how to make walking a part of our busy lives. Do you have any ideas, tips, or strategies on how to walk the walk? Reach out to us on social media @healthyucla or send us an email at livewell@ucla.edu


Karan Ishii is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Biology. She is a blogger for MoveWell of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative, as well as the Chief of Staff of the Student Wellness Commission and an intern at the Counseling and Psychological Services. She is passionate about dogs, curry, and skiing!

Royce Hall, UCLA

Bruins Step To It Part 2: Resources to Step it Up

People often underestimate the power of a simple walk. We not only walk to get to where we want to go, we walk to clear our heads, get exercise, and enjoy the scenery. This blog is part 2 of Bruins Step To It, a three part blog series on walking. If you missed Part 1, we discussed some surprising ways walking can boost your productivity. Part 2 will explore some beautiful walking paths you may not have noticed right in your UCLA backyard. Stay tuned for Part 3, the last of our series, which will be exploring ways to implement more walking into our lives!

Walking resources abound at UCLA! Here is the whole collection:

1. UCLA 30 x 30 Nature Challenge

For the whole month of April, UCLA Recreation FITWELL is encouraging the community to activate their lives through the Nature Challenge. The array of daily challenges includes low intensity walking excursions on the beach or barefoot on grass. Fitwell highlights the various benefits of activity in nature. Read about it and follow the daily challenges here!

2. UCLA Walks App

Track your walking with UCLA Health’s UCLA Walks App! The app tracks your path, time, and distance and rewards walkers with points. Connect your walking routes and progress with your friends and keep each other accountable for wellness! The app is available for iPhone and Android devices.



Image from: https://www.uclahealth.org/ucla-walks-app

3. Bruin Commuter Club (BCC) Walk Benefits

Graduate students, Staff, and Faculty can receive benefits for commuting to campus via walking! Members can receive their $50 in annual benefits by choose between a $50 The Walking Company Gift Card or a UCLA Commuter Passport and $25 The Walking Company Gift Card. Apply here!

4. FITWELL Bruin Walkers Guided Walking Maps

Interested in finding new routes to walk around campus? The maps identify key landmarks on and around campus for your to find! Download the maps here!

5. UCLA Transportation’s Benefits of Walking

For those who can, walking as a means of commuting is incredibly beneficial for the mind and body. UCLA Transportation also provides tips to get started to pull the best from your walking commute. Read about it here.

6. Bruin Run/Walk

In its 20th year, the Bruin Run/Walk is a 5k benefitting the Chase Child Life Program at the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital. UCLA and its surrounding community will gather on Saturday, April 27th to enjoy live performances, free food, and, of course, the run/walk route. More information here!


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Bruins Step To It Part 1: Scoot Over, Let’s Walk!

People often underestimate the power of a simple walk. We not only walk to get to where we want to go, we walk to clear our heads, get exercise, and enjoy the scenery. This blog is part 1 of Bruins Step To It, a three part blog series on walking. Part 2 will explore some beautiful walking paths you may not have noticed right in your UCLA backyard. Stay tuned!

Uber. Lyft. Lyft Scooters. Bird. Lime. Jump. Spin. Wheels.

Bruins now have more and more options of traveling around campus on vehicles small and large. Dock-less electric scooters started popping up around campus in Fall of 2017 and have dramatically shifted campus transportation. Even Razor, the company that manufactures traditional kick-scooters, now has a fleet of EScooters available for minute-to-minute rental via an app. Injuries from crashing or falling off EScooters have led to a significant increase in student emergency room visits. UCLA’s partnership with Lyft and the cultural popularity of Uber results in 11,000 carshare rides from one part of campus to another each week. Though rideshare companies fund initiatives to offset the carbon impact of their cars, Westwood is directly polluted with emissions from these trips. For these short distances, many students turn to vehicles instead of walking and, in doing so, miss out on some of the positive impacts of the mind-body connection, experienced through walking.

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Here are 5 ways walking instead of scooting can benefit your productivity:

1. Refresh your study session:

Walking is correlated with an improvement in work attitude! 30 minutes of walking during the day is correlated with an overall significant uptick in mood and outlook pertaining to work! Even a 5 minute lap around Powell or Young Library will drive your study session towards productiveness!

2. Writer’s block? Go around the block!

Walking was shown to increase creative divergent thinking during the walk and continued creative output when seated. Walking outdoors produced greater creativity compared to walking indoors or sitting outdoors. Take a stroll to a different study spot when stuck writing an essay!

3. Enter a meditative state:

The rhythmic motion of walking can put the walker into a meditative state. Create a mobile, personal meditation space by being present and mindful of the sights, sounds, and smells embedded within our beautiful green campus. A study on university student cognitive task performance found that mindfulness practice increased concentration, reaction time, and working memory.

4. Shake off that fatigue:

Regular low-intensity leisurely walking has been shown to reduce fatigue symptoms by 65 percent in individuals and increased energy levels by 20 percent. A daily 40 minute walk from one side of Westwood to another and back is the perfect walk for increasing daily energy for those who don’t already do so!

5. Improve memory and attention:

Walking outside, even on gloomy or frigid days, benefits memory and attention. There is a correlation between walking in nature and greater memory and attention performance as compared to urban landscapes, so consider hiking to class along green paths rather than along the shortest route!

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The mind-body connection is dramatically illustrated in hippotherapy (i.e occupational, physical, or speech therapy on horseback). For some young children with delayed walking, speech is also delayed. Hippotherapy can be used to work non-leg muscles associated with walking and aid in helping develop speech! The forward/back, lateral, up/down movement of a horse is the only known method of replicating the sensation of walking in the torso without using legs. The three dimensional movement compels the rider to use their core muscles to adjust to the changing center of gravity with each step. Torsal organs settle in the body, allowing the diaphragm to lower more easily, increasing respiratory ability. Abdominal muscle stimulation allows for neural signaling the promotes the development of facial muscles and the jaw.

Stay tuned for a blog on some routes and commutes to and around campus that can add a little more green into your life!


Karan Ishii is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Biology. She is a blogger for MoveWell of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative, as well as the Chief of Staff of the Student Wellness Commission and an intern at the Counseling and Psychological Services. She is passionate about dogs, curry, and skiing!


UCLA Fitness Passes: Unlimited Classes, Lit Activities

UCLA Recreation’s GroupX and Yoga Passes provide unlimited fitness classes to students each quarter in a wide spectrum of activities. Classes often repeat quarter to quarter, along with adjustments based on popularity and student feedback. This quarter, the GroupX pass delivers dance workouts and conditioning classes with exciting names such as Booty Kickin’ Barre, POUND, Bolly Pop, Transcendance, and more.

The Yoga Pass hosts yoga for all abilities, with different themes and focuses. For instance, Naptime Yoga provides busy, sleep-deprived students with the opportunity to have quality rest through guided relaxation, while Yoga Sculpt focuses more on core strength. Classes are spread out throughout the day to allow even the busiest Bruin to take part.

The passes are on sale each the quarter at the John Wooden Center and the Kinross Recreation Center. GroupX costs $35 and the Yoga Pass costs $45. The passes are often giveaway prizes by the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center, so stay tuned for those opportunities!

Your first chance to win is this week! MoveWell Media Week, from November 12th to 16th, features a weeklong campaign via social media platforms (twitter, facebook, and instagram) where participants are placed in a drawing for prizes. The more you participate, the greater your chances of winning!


Photograph via UCLA Recreation John Wooden Center Facebook Page

Still not convinced about the fun and benefits of the passes? Learn about the experiences of three Bruins below:

Meet Jenna!

Jenna is a two-time yoga pass holder, with one of them a prize she won from the Healthy Campus Initiative Media Week on Instagram last spring quarter. With one of her passes, she went to intermediate/advanced yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She explains: “it was a very positive experience for me. The instructors were all very good and my mood definitely improved.” As a busy Bruin, she integrates physical activity into her student experience by making exercise a part of her everyday and social life. “Walking everywhere on campus and in Westwood is [itself] a workout… those hills get you toned!” Jenna highly recommends inviting friends to join on walks or hikes, as friends can catch up, destress, and exercise all at once! She explained that she is not a “huge gym person,” so since arriving in Australia and, without a yoga pass program, has had to look for alternative ways of staying active. Currently, she practices vinyasa and power yoga on her rooftop most mornings and lives close to bushwalking opportunities (the Oceanic term for hiking), which she does most weekends. By walking to most places, her daily mileage generally adds up to six to seven miles a day!


Photograph by Tim Savage

Meet Alyssa!

As a committee director of the Body Image Task Force under the USAC Student Wellness Commission, Alyssa is as busy as Bruins get! Alyssa is a two-time owner of a GroupX pass holder, though her first pass during her second year was not used much due to a full schedule. Flashforward to this year when her friend, Nivi, invited Alyssa to join a free spin class during zero week. “I went because I’ve done spin classes before and I knew it was a good workout.” She had initially not planned on purchasing the pass this year, but after discussing last year’s experience with Nivi, both agreed that the class was so enjoyable that it was well worth the investment. “I felt like I could bring myself to the fun every week!” She noted the good music and her incredible instructor, Emily, as major components in her decision to becoming a passholder once more!

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Photograph by Bruce Mars

Meet Laine!

Laine is a third-year neuroscience major with a minor in gender studies! Her schedule includes work, research, and greek life on top of going to classes and studying! Wowza! She purchased a Yoga Pass for the first time this year, explaining: “I recognized that it was time to align my mental health with my physical fitness, and I thought committing financially to yoga would help achieve that goal.” She is currently taking level 1-2 yoga flow classes focused on strength and mindfulness. Laine emphasized keeping herself accountable in attending classes for her health and wellbeing. Who would benefit from such an experience? According to Laine, “anyone who is looking to explore a peaceful and non-comparative relationship with their body would benefit from a yoga pass. Yoga provides an opportunity to feel ‘productive’ while still giving the mind a break, and also teaches you about the different strengths your body inherently possesses. Yoga opposes the mindset of many competitive workout classes, which can lead to negative self-imagery.” Nicely-put Laine!




Karan Ishii is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Biology. She is a blogger for MoveWell of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative, as well as the Chief of Staff of the Student Wellness Commission and an intern at the Counseling and Psychological Services. She is passionate about dogs, curry, and skiing!

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Meet MoveWell: A Recap of the Fall Quarter Mixer

Hey there Bouncing Busy Bruins!


We hope you had a chance to stop by the MoveWell Mixer on Thursday, October 11! In typical ThursYAY! fashion, the Court of Sciences was buzzing with activity. Instead of walking past the open spaces, students going to and from their classes engaged with their peers and gigantic versions of childhood games, such as Connect-4, chess, Jenga, and more. ThursYAY! will continue in its second academic year, activating the Court of Science with games and activities presented by UCLA Recreation and MoveWell.


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Spike ball in action.


Ryan and Ashwin, first year undergraduate students, played Spikeball for nearly an hour after their class. “We just wanted to come out here and relax,” explained Ryan. He added that he regularly takes movement breaks while studying or working by heading to the gym, explaining that, “It helps me focus and be more efficient.” Ashwin shared that, though he does not partake in activity during study breaks, it is something he is willing to try it out and see how he can implement more activity into his daily life. A MoveWell pod-member overheard another student laughing, “It’s so fun playing silly games on a bigger scale!” It is our hope that activated spaces like this will continue to enrich the student experience by increasing activity and engagement within busy schedules.


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Feels like playing chess with Harry, Ron, and Hermione!


Over at the MoveWell tents, pod-members and students enjoyed a sandwich lunch and networking, despite the strong wind blowing through the event. MoveWell pod leaders and Healthy Campus Initiative Staff informed students of movement-related campaigns and opportunities, including the Lyft-UCLA partnership offering students a flat rate of $4.99 for a carpool ride within 5 miles to/from campus.


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South Campus students learning about MoveWell resources.


Bruin Bike Share is celebrating its one year anniversary by offering $25 off the annual membership code (use code: BRINCIKE1 for new members). Students will be able to ride for up to 90 minutes a day with the membership. What a great way to be active!


Many students who stopped by the booth were interested in the Yoga pass and GroupX passes, offering unlimited low-cost fitness passes classes throughout the quarter. For UCLA staff and faculty, UCLA REC’s Fit Zone is a fantastic opportunity to participate in fitness classes at zero cost. These programs are just two of the wide variety of affordable and enjoyable ways that UCLA makes it a little bit easier to be active within a busy work and/or academic week. A full listing of courses and programs can be found on the UCLA Recreation website.


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Giant bubbles: the wind made it a little tricky, but they were still fun!


Be sure to look out for free yoga on campus throughout each Friday afternoon and early evenings. The program was started by the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center at UCLA, partnering once again with UCLA Recreation. The location and time of the sessions can be found here. Don’t forget to bring your yoga mat!




Karan Ishii is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Biology. She is the MoveWell Blogger for the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center at UCLA, as well as the Chief of Staff of the Student Wellness Commission and an intern at the Counseling and Psychological Services. She is passionate about dogs, curry, and skiing!

Scuba Pic (Day of Car Accident 2013)

Eudaimonia Society Spotlight: Ryan Arroyo

Eudaimonia is defined as: a sustained form of wellbeing that goes along with finding meaning and purpose in life or human flourishing. The Healthy Campus Initiative launched a new Eudaimonia Society in order to recognize and highlight extraordinary members of the UCLA community who live their lives with purpose and meaning while inspiring others to do the same.

Ryan Arroyo was recently nominated for the Eudaimonia Society because he is someone who inspires others through his own personal journey of growth. Ryan was the victim of two severe car accidents: one in 2001 when he was 19 and one four years ago when his heart stopped after being brought into the ER at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, and he had to be resuscitated. Following the traumatic experience, he overcame grueling months of recovery, rehabilitation, weight gain, and mental trauma. Through it all, Ryan harnessed his hardship to cultivate an inspirational and positive spirit to help others. Ryan, now thriving, fit and healthy, shares his experience with others through volunteer service, coaching, and training to be on American Ninja Warrior for a second time.

Ryan feels eudaimonia is best represented in his life through his “unstoppable human spirit, the driving force to invoke positive change and growth both for yourself in your own life and affecting the lives of others.” He felt that he moved beyond the “mindset that I really wasn’t able to step into my greatness” and became unstoppable once he realized that ‘I am capable, I am worthy, that I am going to succeed.’”


He came to this epiphany after a great soul searching. Ryan described:

“Before I got into a very severe car accident when I was 19, I was young and completely lost and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do in life. I definitely suffered from imposter syndrome but everything changed when I decided and made the commitment to pursue my passions and unique calling through courage and determination at UCLA. But it wasn’t until I started working for Teach for America that I found my passion. I was exposed to the side of working with others and helping other people find their own path because we don’t just have one specific calling in life but rather many things.”

He believes that one way that we, as individuals, can move forward is understanding the crucial role all of our experiences have on us:

“This moment we are living in and tomorrow are not guaranteed, and yesterday’s already gone; so we have to live in the moment. I realized [through] all of these experiences that it has all been priceless training. Everyday is a new challenge so we just have to make sure we are putting ourselves first but also pushing ourselves to be the best we can.”

Through his experiences and the traumas in his life, Ryan learned a lot about himself and his own purpose in his life, asserting:

“Life is all about the journey and the struggle, and always having a positive mindset can change everything. After my very severe car accident when I was 19 and my second car accident four years ago, I was temporarily disabled for a year and had to learn how to walk again, feed myself, how to open up jars, and squeeze toothpaste. By going through that whole process as a teenager and again later in my life, it opened up my eyes to the world and was definitely a blessing in disguise. When I started to understand that any mishaps are stepping stones towards my growth, I started stepping into my purpose and my greatness.”


Ryan also loves volunteering and participating in American Ninja Warrior for the past year because he’s surrounded by similarly passionate people. Ryan said,

“Whether it’s at animal shelters, working on the board of the UCLA Alumni Association, or any volunteer service, volunteers are there because they are just genuinely passionate about life. There’s also a very similar vibe at American Ninja Warrior. They are all so passionate about the art of ninja and competing. I think that’s what drew me into that bubble and environment: they are just as passionate as the volunteers that I work with, and it’s kind of how like attracts like.”

And for anyone wondering how to find your own purpose in life, Ryan advises

“Never lose that fire that drives you in your day-to-day life: the more excited about life that you feel, the more you’re going to be successful. Find what it is that sets your heart on fire, and don’t ever stop doing that. The best way to predict the future is to create it: be resourceful and be positive and watch the positive results manifest in your life.”

In concluding our interview session, Ryan wanted to give one more takeaway that he learned after facing the adversities in his life:  

“The one thing the world desperately needs is love, and even though it sounds really corny, the love this world needs is what you can give. So pay that inspiration forward too: whatever you find in life that lights your soul on fire, continue to pay that inspiration forward. Success, victory, and greatness: all those three things don’t happen by accident: plan your work and work your plan, and you’ll all do great!”

Although the Eudaimonia Ceremony for this year has passed, start thinking about who you want to nominate in the fall for the 2019 Eudaimonia Society. We look forward to inducting more amazing people like Ryan into the HCI Eudaimonia Society next year.

Tiffany Hu is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics. She is a blogger for Move Well of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative. She is the Assistant Commissioner of the Student Wellness Commission. Tiffany is also the Special Projects and Alumni Coordinator of the UCLA Care Extender Internship.

Image from Google

ThursYAYs: Get Ready to Start Moving in South Campus!

Hello my Bruin Movers and Shakers! I hope you are all getting the rest you deserve during this Spring Break and are ready for some amazing things we have in store for you during Spring Quarter!

Image from Rebecca Ferdman

Image from Rebecca Ferdman

Most students, staff, and faculty would agree that UCLA’s campus is gorgeous. However, most of us spend our time zooming through from one stop to the next. There are few outdoor spaces that invite us to destress and get moving. And sometimes the gym isn’t quite the right place to just relax or get moving for five minutes to kickstart the rest of your day. Well, we’ve got news for you!

HCI’s MoveWell pod is collaborating with BEWell to activate the Court of Sciences North and will launch activities starting at the beginning of Spring Quarter. More specifically, beginning on April 3rd, Mindful Music will play at noon on a monthly basis. And beginning April 5th, every Thursday at noon will now be dubbed ThursYAYs. Every ThursYAY in the Court of Sciences, UCLA REC and MoveWell will bring in loads of movement equipment, including yoga mats, ping-pong tables, a giant Jenga set, and sidewalk chalk, in order to help the students, staff, and faculty all across campus add a little more movement to their day or have an area just to relax with friends, just with a little more fun!

Image from Google

Image from Google

The pilot activation project includes adding and revising some of the landscape, adding some “connected” furniture as well as providing a storage unit for the games and equipment UCLA REC will provide for noon activities. This project was facilitated by pod leaders of BEWell and MoveWell, Renee Fortier and Angelia Leung, respectively. Leung says, “the Court of Sciences is a great space that could be really used well,” and explains that they created this project because they wanted to “utilize underused spaces that the campus community typically just walks through.” Fortier says that “with 75,000 people on 419 acres, the campus can’t really afford for these spaces to just be pass through spaces. We need to make these spaces active, alive, and contribute to the health and well-being of the campus.”

The Court of Sciences North was specifically chosen as a starting point because it has “a lot of people passing through but the space itself has very little in the way for amenities that could give people a chance to pause from studies, work, or stresses,” Fortier explains. “We wanted to give students, staff, and faculty a place to relax, to sit down and talk with colleagues, [to] meditate, or [to do some] impromptu nerf ball tossing.”

Image from The Tech Edvocate

Image from The Tech Edvocate

The ultimate goal is to have a place to help individuals deal with the fast-paced life of a college campus, whether by “being alone, to sit and meditate and relax, or engaging and being social,” Fortier says. Similarly, Leung shares that HCI as a whole wants to inspire the campus to “go beyond the sedentary habits” and “know when it’s time to get up and stretch or get out of the room and take a little walk to destress for two minutes.” By activating this space, HCI hopes to draw more attention to how easy it is to incorporate small breaks into one’s everyday life to help reduce stress and combat sedentary habits. We hope that many activations will follow all over campus that would include more fun activities!

Get ready for some de-stressing activities coming at you in the Court of Sciences! Later in the quarter, there will even be a kickoff event on Tuesday, May 1st, from 11:30 am – 1 pm, when HCI will celebrate this new initiative to transform the Court of Sciences into an inviting space for healthy activity and social engagement. Come join the fun, where there will be free food, prizes, games, fitness assessments, and more!

Your Thursdays will be looking like ThursYAYs!

Tiffany Hu is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics. She is a blogger for Move Well of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative. She is the Assistant Commissioner of the Student Wellness Commission and the Special Projects and Alumni Coordinator of the UCLA Care Extender Internship.