Let’s get buzzed…

By: Tim Stafford, Health Champion and MPH Student at Fielding School of Public Health

Let’s get buzzed…on Exercise!  Exercise is medicine! Actually more than medicine, exercise is that daily Cup o’ Joe we use to start our day half-full, and then finish it by spilling over with extra energy, time, and life.  It allows our daily life cup to be full, reaching well-being that builds natural barriers to disease while fostering joy and happiness.

Time and energy are our two most precious commodities.  It has been my experience that the healthier you are, the more time and energy you have.  The more energy you have, the more time you have to sleep, do fun things, and enjoy your friends, family, and hobbies.  When your health, well-being, and natural energy are high, the quality of your life improves.  Health permeates all areas of your life; physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, and occupational.

There are so many reasons to be in the field of wellness and to be a Health Champion at UCLA.  It’s fun interacting with people who share the same values, supporting one another in our individual and collective health journeys.  I have seen the transformative effects of good health, personally and in large groups.  It doesn’t matter where you start, but where you decide to start!  I love playing a role in the confidence building of people, accomplishing their health and wellness goals that they never thought possible.  I have managed thousands of people walk and run half and full marathons.  They all started thinking, “What did I get myself into?”  But just as in any task worth completing, if you break it down into small enough pieces, then you can accomplish anything.

My background is in motivation and team-building.  As a fitness enthusiast my activities have ranged from group exercise, cross fit, yoga, spinning, and marathon training to being an ironman athlete.  I am also certified as a Corporate Wellness Specialist which helps employers increase business while retaining their most valuable resource, retaining happy and healthy employees.  What I hope to accomplish as a Health Champion is to provide information, motivation, and wellness opportunities for students, staff, and faculty helping UCLA be the healthiest campus in America through our Healthy Campus Initiative. It’s win/win.  3…2…1.  Ready, set, go!

5 things you probably didn’t know about walking

1. Power walking burns more fat than slow jogging.Although you can burn more calories while jogging, you do not necessarily burn more fat when you walk for the same amount of time! Walking gives your body’s metabolism more time to make the switch from burning carbohydrates to burning fat.

2. Your body starts releasing endorphins after your first 20 minutes of walking.Endorphins are a natural “happy drug” released in your brain that help relieve pain and reduce stress. Taking power walks outside of the office or home can calm your mind, boost your self-esteem and improve your sleep. All you need is just 30 minutes out of your day, a pair of comfortable walking shoes and a good walking posture. It can’t get easier than that!

3. You can easily estimate your walking speed without a pedometer.The math is simple: Count the number of steps you take per minute and divide that number by 30. For example, if you take 120 steps per minute, your walking speed will be approximately 4 mph.

(Hint: For optimum calorie burning, aim for a power walking speed of 4.5 mph. At that rate,you can almost burn just as many calories as someone who is jogging at the same speed.)

4. We use approximately 200 muscles when we walk.Almost every single muscle from your neck to toe is involved in balancing and moving you forward when you walk.The most heavily-used muscles while you walk include the quadriceps, hamstrings, buttock muscles, stomach muscles and calf muscles. And flexing your cheek muscles will make your walk ten times more pleasurable (a.k.a. SMILING!).

5. Brisk walking reduces cravings.Studies have shown that our brains produce lower responses to images of food on days when we did brisk walking, which helps to control our appetite for greasy food and sweets. Instead, our body and brain tell us to choose nutritious food that is necessary to compensate for the energy loss from walking, such as carbohydrates and protein. Now you know how to deal with that leftover Halloween candy!

Brian — Digital Marketing Associate, UCLA Transportation. During his down time – when he is not on Facebook or his smartphone – Brian likes to read recipes on Food Network, sing shamelessly in public and exploring new places around LA.

Music & Movement and How it Improves Your Health

Greetings from the Move Well Team!

Did you know that coordinated rhythmic movement rituals like dance have a mountain of health benefits?

The goal of this month’s MOVE WELL BLOG is to introduce you to the perceived health benefits associated with participating in dance classes. It’s never too late to begin to explore the practice of dance across any number of cultural traditions as a route to healthy living.

What’s that you say? You “can’t dance?”

If your personal dance “history” is limited-to-non-existent, or if you are otherwise a dance-skeptic, read on…or BETTER YET…scroll down to the FREE cultural dance events on the UCLA campus listed at the end of this post.

UCLA is home to an array of cultural dance offerings on campus, including some participatory free events in the coming days! For UCLA students in particular, we have listed some Winter Quarter dance offerings that may be flying under your radar.

For those of you who prefer to understand the “science” behind dance as a perceived health benefit, you may be surprised to know that, in addition to the deep cultural meanings that dance articulates across various movement traditions and geographical regions, neuro-cognitive experts have claimed that BOTH the doing and the witnessing of live dance performance can improve overall wellness and enhance quality of life. Dance and health writer Veronica Hackthal published a pair of eJournal articles on the benefits of dance participation this past summer for Dance USA, the national service organization for dance in the United States.

In Part One of her “Come Dance With Me” series, Hackthal champions the physical, psychological, and physiological processes that ritualized dance practices engender, at all stages of the lifespan. She cites neurocognitive changes that occur during and after dance practice (endorphin release, etc.,) that contribute to mood changes and that improve learning overall for those who take a chance on dance.

Read more from Hackthal on the scientific and practical uses of dance and brain function here:


Well, our best advice to quell your questioning mind and body is to TRY out a basic or introductory dance class. Dance is, after all, a movement practice that you can only LEARN by DOING. Make a commitment to yourself to “try some new moves” this month, and see how dance teaches you something about what you, and your body, can do.

Check out the campus dance opportunities available below at Bruin Plaza, Wooden Center,  and in the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance in Glorya Kaufman Hall.

FREE CAMPUS WIDE EVENT: World Music & Movement Festival
When: November 16, 2013, 11am-5pm
Where: Bruin Plaza

With the prevalence of popular music and dance genres in social media, the chances of being exposed to unique cultural and traditional practices are rare. Even in Los Angeles, the most diversely populated city in California, there is still a lack of appreciation for diverse culture. Therefore, we are planning a World Music and Movement Festival to be held at UCLA on Saturday November 16th from 11am-5pm in Bruin Plaza. This festival will display world traditions through performing arts, in our effort to make the public more aware and involved with different cultural practices. **FREE** More information available on the World Music and Movement website.

UCLA Recreation Dance Classes (non-credit, open to campus community, enrollment is limited) Explore world history and culture through Dance. Throughout history, people across the world have used dance for self-expression, to tell stories, celebrate traditional events, and to maintain communal bonds. Whether you have limited dancing experience or you are perfecting your moves, our dance classes will help you relieve stress, ease tension, and tone muscle all while having a great time. So choose your pleasure and EXPRESS YOURSELF! http://www.recreation.ucla.edu/dance 3. Beginning Dance Courses Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance Winter Quarter

**Students are encouraged to follow the DANCE subject header to the following offerings on URSA or the UCLA Schedule of Classes. Enrollment is limited, early registration is encouraged**.

DANCE 8: Beginning Afro- Brazilian T/R 430-550pm 2 credits

GKH 230 Instructor: Samantha Goodman Beginning-level study of world arts practices originating from Latin America, including cultures of South and Central America. Variable topics, such as Argentine tango and Mexican folkloric dances, in cultural and historical context. May be repeated for credit without limitation. P/NP or letter grading. Section Description:  Introduction to Afro-Brazilian traditional and popular dances from region of Salvador, Bahia. Survey of variety of dances including Orixa (deity) movement, Dança Afro, Samba de Caboclo, and Samba Reggae. Exploration of uses of spine, body isolations, and energetic/expressive qualities inherent to these dances, as well as their rich cultural and historical contexts. DANCE 10: Beginning Tai Chi Chuan T/R 830-950am 2 credits GKH 1000 Instructor: Jason Tsou Beginning-level study of world arts practices originating from East Asia, including China, Korea, and Japan. Variable topics, such as movement and music techniques of Beijing Opera, Korean shamanic movement practices, and Kabuki theater, in cultural and historical context. May be repeated for credit without limitation. P/NP or letter grading. Section Description:  Designed to help beginning students fully understand Tai Chi Chuan principles and their application in martial arts and meditational exercise. Emphasizes static and dynamic Tai Chi, method of yin-yang balance, Tai Chi Chikung (Qigong) with Tai Chi ball and Tai Chi bowl exercise, cycle and rhythm, five elements in Tai Chi Chuan, Reeling Silk energy built-up through random circle drills, and detailed studies on Yang and Chen style Tai Chi Chuan forms. DANCE 11: Beginning Bharata Natayam

M/W 1030-1150am 2 credits GKH 214 Instructor: V. Prakash Beginning-level study of world arts practices originating from South Asia and extending to cultures of South Asian diasporas, including communities in England and West Africa. Variable topics, such as Bharata Natyam (classical dance of India), bhangra (diasporic social dance), and hatha yoga, in cultural and historical context. May be repeated for credit without limitation. P/NP or letter grading.  Section Description:  Beginning positions, movements, and music of Bharata Natyam, classical dance form of India.

Happy Dancing! The Move Well Team

~Sarah Wilbur
MFA, PhD Candidate
UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance

Sitting is the New Smoking — Even for Runners

Are you an active couch potato? No?

Are you a avid runner who also works up to 9-hours a day at a desk?

If responded to the second question even slightly in the affirmative, then the correlations raised by this Runner’s World article may inspire you to move a little, to move more, or to move differently not just once a day, but throughout your daily routine. Even if you schedule regular, diligent, exercise routines into your daily regimen, this article and related studies suggest that active people who work long hours in seated positions are at risk for many negative health symptoms as their couch-potato friends. Read on and feel free to comment here…

What is YOUR “movement” solution to being stuck at your desk?

Please COMMENT and share you “movement solutions”–no matter how big or how small–with readers and with the MOVE WELL team throughout the month of October. Your input will help keep UCLA moving!

In case you are truly, “stuck” in this challenge, the HCI MOVE WELL team wanted to contribute a very low-intensity, movement sequence for you to consider (below) as a way to “re-boot” your energy, your work session, and to avoid some of the negative correlations that are mentioned in this article.

Don’t forget to COMMENT and share your “movement solutions” here with other readers!

Sincerely, The MOVE WELL Team SEATED STRETCH: 2 minutes The goal with this exercise is to further connect and unify breath and movement through dynamic stretching and spinal flexion. All you need to execute this series (a modified yoga-inspired “sun salutation”) is to push your chair away from the desk so that you have enough forward room to flex the spine at the waist. You also need room to reach your arms up from the sides. Preparation: lower the arms to their sides, and to wiggle the toes and fingers, increasing circulation to the “distal” points of the body.

Step 1: Bring the hands in front of the chest – pressing the palms together. Inhale and carve the fingertips down toward the floor and then lift arms straight side and up overhead while pressing the feet into the floor, taking focus gently up toward the fingertips/ceiling.

Step 2. Exhale, folding torso forward over lap/legs. Fold arms on legs as a brace for upper body for modified seated forward bend (***See note below on forward flexion.)

Step 3. Inhale, lift head and extend the back up and forward into a flat back position, looking straight ahead. Be mindful not to jam the neck.

Step 4. Exhale. Relax the head, fold the torso back over (as in step two).

Step 5. On the final inhale, roll up from the bottom of the spine sequentially up to a “neutral” seating posture, starting with aligning the pelvis, then the ribcage, then the chest, and then the head.

***PLEASE NOTE: this forward flexion series is not recommended for those with lower back or neck problems and, like with all physical exercise, should be attempted with sensitivity to your own bodily sensations and limitations.

What Moves You?

If you’ve stumbled upon this blog, then chances are you are interested in the scope of the HCI’s movement-oriented resources, activities, and events. First of all, welcome! We are excited to continue to update you about the fitness, dance, and wellness activities that are under development by our team of MOVE WELL faculty, staff, and graduate student instigators. If you know our “drill”, then you should take a moment here, to…just…pause.

Sit upright in your chair if you have slouched.

Think about creating more space between the bottom of your ear lobes and the top of your shoulders.


Take five deep inhales in through your nose, and out through your nose.

Relax your forehead.

We’ll wait.

[This is your “movement” break]
Thank you.

Now, back to our topic:

What Moves You?

Movement can be simple. Movement can be small, internal, and mindful. Movement, in many ways, is inevitable. The MOVE WELL team encourages the UCLA community to take time away from the “verbs” of work—scrolling, typing, clicking, and sending—and to focus your energy on any task that allows you to connect with your body.

One of our jobs in the MOVE WELL blog is to remind you to tune in to your own movement. This means also thinking about what moves or inspires you to be who you are in the world. Movement, as we view it, is not only about fitness, or about learning a dance form or sport. Movement is also emotional, psychological, and culturally-specific.

By hailing your attention to the question: What Moves You?, the MOVE WELL team encourages you to join us in thinking about the healthy routes to self-expression and inspiration arts and creative experiences can provide.

Our team is geared up for this academic year with new leadership from Professor Angelia Leung from the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, who is working alongside Mick Deluca, Executive Director, UCLA Recreation and Campus Life to integrate arts participatory programming and resources into the MOVE WELL component of the Healthy Campus Initiative. One of our goals for the 2013-2014 year is to connect the UCLA campus community to participatory arts experiences that, in various ways, enhance psychological, physical, and creative health.

[By the way, are you still breathing?]

So, keep your eyes peeled for workshops, classes, live performances, research and resources that invite you to groove with various campus initiatives. In the words of choreographer Liz Lerman, “Nothing is too small to notice”, about how you move, and about what moves you.

We are looking forward to co-operating with you this year, through the HCI.


~The Move Well Team
Sarah Wilbur, Choreographer and Graduate Student Researcher, Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance

Healthy Meetings

Do you ever get tired of sitting all day – in class, at work, in meetings? All that time sitting adds up. In fact, Americans now sit an average of 9.3 hours per day. That’s more than most people sleep!

The research is clear that sitting is bad for our health, especially for hours on end. A recent study  announced that for every hour of sitting a person’s life expectancy is decreased by 21.8 minutes. To put it into perspective, smoking one cigarette reduces life expectancy by 11 minutes on average.

So, sitting could be the new smoking. And we do a lot of it. But how can we move more when we need to work or study??

Top executives are lacing up their sneakers and taking meetings on the road. Silicon Valley executive Nilofer Merchant  is doing just that. Since starting her walk-and-talk meetings, Merchant now walks between 20-30 miles per week. Check out Merchant’s inspiring Ted Talk, “Got a Meeting? Take a Walk” .

These meetings benefit more than just your waistline. “Something about being side by side lends itself to facing into a problem together,” said Merchant.

Others are catching onto the idea, too. “Walking meetings are great for brainstorming, giving feedback, and hashing through tough problems,” adds Kristin Galliani, another walk-and-talker.

For your next meeting or group project, why not try this yourself? Check out this Forbes article  for tips on how to hold a walking meeting. Go to Google Maps  and create a walking route around campus.

So, lace up those shoes and let us know how it goes! Comment on this blog to share with us what you learned or any great walking routes you discover!

Claudia Gilmore

UCLA Student

Remembering Dr. Yancey and Instant Recess

Remember when it was time for recess? The bell would ring and sheer joy would overcome the classroom. Everyone would race to the playground, tripping over their feet to get outside and play in the sunshine.

Whatever happened to recess? That’s what UCLA’s Dr. Toni Yancey wanted to know. Because the solution to our growing obesity epidemic is fun and simple – that’s right, it’s recess!

According to Dr. Yancey’s research , we don’t even need that much of it. Just 10-minute exercise breaks are enough to make us a healthier and more productive nation.

Dr. Yancey’s research was ground-breaking and her energy contagious. Just listening to her describe Instant Recess  made you want to jump out of your seat and move! Even Michelle Obama caught on to the idea and promoted Dr. Yancey’s work. You can listen to Dr. Yancey’s presentation of Instant Recess in this Ted Talk from last fall.

And not only was Dr. Yancey a pioneer in health promotion, but she was a former model and college basketball player. When she wasn’t teaching at UCLA, Dr. Yancey was also a poet and spoken word artist.

Last month, after a long battle with lung cancer, Dr. Yancey passed away at the age of 55. She never smoked.

Move Well is especially saddened by this immeasurable loss. Dr. Yancey was the pod’s founding faculty member. Her vision shaped our mission to get UCLA up and moving and continues to guide our work.

To honor Dr. Yancey, get out from behind the desk or library cubicle and take a 10-minute recess break! She would love to know we’re moving more than ever, taking quick breaks throughout the day to exercise our bodies and refresh our minds.

We want to keep Dr. Yancey’s legacy alive, and you can help! If you have ideas on how UCLA can move more, please comment on this blog and let us know!