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.

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  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


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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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.



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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!


How to overcome your fear of the gym



Photo via Google Images

The first time I ever entered a gym I was intimidated, I was afraid. I loved to work out; all throughout high school I did sports every season of the year, so I considered myself an athlete. Physical activity…it was my entertainment, my distraction, and my stress reliever. But, I realized I had never stepped into a “real” gym before until I came to college. My little rural town up in NorCal had a gym the size of the Circuit Room inside John Wooden! (Imagine all the UCLA population trying to workout in there all at once — yikes!).

It wasn’t until I entered the John Wooden Center (JWC) that I realized how insecure I was about working out in a gym setting. As a woman of color, a Mexican American, I felt I did not belong when I didn’t see others with similar characteristics to myself roaming around the gym floors. But, I soon realized that it was my own self-consciousness triggering these thoughts, because the reality is a different one: the gym is for all people of all ages, sizes, shapes, and skin colors.

Studies have shown that university students have “problematic levels of inactivity” which results in serious health implications in the future of the student. Because there are health disparities in certain communities  and a continuous prevalence of high rates of obesity in young adolescents and adults in the United States, I decided I wanted to change this pattern of inactivity due to intimidation not only for myself but for others with similar experiences.

So what do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed by a gigantic work out space filled with people who sure look like they know what they are doing? What do you do when you want to fix these “problematic levels” of inactivity in your life that can lead to chronic health implications, but you are intimidated by the gym?

    1. Find a workout buddy– Studies show that a main predictor for college students who workout is social support. Lack of a workout buddy has shown to decrease the willingness to workout. Finding someone that can accompany you to the gym not only erases the feeling of loneliness, but it also creates a sense of moral support which results in encouragement and motivation.
    2. Attend group exercise classes– The JWC offers a variety of group workout classes which are open for all students with the purchase of a fitness pass. These classes can help you get into the rhythm of working out whether it is a total body challenge class or a barbell class. The instructors in JWC are the best at what they do and their mission is to create a comfortable place for everyone to workout in. Working out in groups allows you to learn from others and, similar to a workout buddy, it helps give social support. Also, being in a group setting provides the opportunity of observational learning which introduces one to new ways of working out if you don’t know where to start. That way next time you enter the gym you already have a foundation to start with.
    3. Ask Questions– A lot of the reason why people end up giving up on their commitment to working out is because they are afraid to ask questions. The JWC is filled with a numerous amount of employees who are there to help you get the best of your experience in the gym. If you are unsure of how to use a treadmill or an elliptical machine, simply ask and you’ll be given guidance!
    4. Watch YouTube videos- Nowadays what can you not learn through YouTube videos, right?! YouTube has become the 4th most accessed website on the internet. You can access all sorts of videos from crash courses to videos on how to ride a pony! Therefore, YouTube can provide you with the opportunity to learn how to workout! Yes, indeed! If you are insecure about how to use a certain machine all you need to do is search it up on YouTube, watch, and learn.
    5. Join FITTED!– FITTED is a 9-week progressive training program completely FREE to the entire UCLA community. FITTED’s mission is to get students to feel comfortable not only in the gym setting, but comfortable in their own bodies. FITTED targets those college students whose communal health disparities have greatly affected their health as a college student. Many students who have attended FITTED have gained skills that have allowed them to become healthier and more physically active. I myself can testify to this as I am the director of this project and have personally seen and recorded testimonials, and have been told upfront the impact FITTED has had on student’s lives. To become part of FITTED all you need to do is attend any of our services which are listed below:
      • Monday & Thursdays: Group workouts at Pardee Gym inside JWC from 4-5 pm
      • Tuesdays: FITTED EATS from 4-5 pm. Come get a healthy snack and a chance to talk to our Dietician Eve Lahijani who covers a different wellness topic every Tuesday !

Feeling intimidated by the gym to the point that you do not even want to workout should not be any student’s problem — students already have enough to stress about, especially considering UCLA’s rigorous quarter system! As a community that cares about the well-being of every student, we are here to help. I overcame my intimidation of the gym thanks to FITTED and today I am here to help others alleviate this feeling which can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle if not targeted. With the flexible learning environment here at UCLA it is best to build up habits now than having to suffer the consequences later.

Monica Aguilar is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Chicano/a Studies and minoring in Spanish. She is the project director of FITTED a health and wellness student-run project held in the Community Programs Office.


Let’s Get Moving! The 2016 Recreation Challenge

Hello my fellow Bruin Fitness Pals!


Photo via UCLA Recreation

Something very exciting is brewing at UCLA. I’ll give you a hint: it’ll give us all a shot at beating ’SC!

In celebration of Movement Week (10/24-10/28), all of the PAC 12 schools are getting into some healthy competition! During Movement Week, all twelve schools are promoting healthy living through exercise and movement. They hope to show students that all kinds of exercise or movement are fun and fantastic for our health!

Research has shown that excessive sedentary habits (like sitting at a desk, studying, and playing video games) can be detrimental to your health – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Take the time now to take care of yourself by giving yourself movement recuperations — celebrate movement in your life and at the same time make UCLA the best of the PAC-12 in this challenge!

So, what exactly is the PAC 12 challenge? During this week of October 24 – 28, the schools will be competing to see whose supporters can log the most minutes of activity. Any movement counts! Taking a stretch or movement break in class or at work? Log those minutes! Walking to class or work? Log those minutes! Taking a yoga class? Log those minutes! Attend /participate in one of the FREE offerings by student groups and REC center programs during this week? Log those minutes! Any movement counts!

Anyone that is a UCLA supporter is eligible to participate — all you have to do is sign up on the PAC-12 Challenge website and log your minutes of movement (however, there is a 120 minute per day cap). Need a reason to participate beside getting the chance to beat USC? The top 500 loggers for the week will receive a free PAC 12 Challenge t-shirt! Top loggers per day will be eligible to win a Fitbit or a yoga mat!

To help UCLA supporters log as many minutes as possible and beat USC, UCLA Recreation is offering a variety of opportunities from free Group Exercises classes to free classes at the Marina Aquatic Center to drop in FITWELL Games. In addition to these movement opportunities, there are a number of other fun opportunities happening this week, including Eat Well cooking demos at the Bruin Plaza Farmer’s Market, Martial Arts demos, and a Drum Circle (which helps with anxiety!).

In case you’re looking for even more resources to help get you moving, UCLA has loads of fun programs to get you moving, including the following:

  • UCLA Rec: They offer loads of fun classes to help get active from different types of arts, dance, sports, etc! (And they are only $25 for the whole quarter!)
  • Yoga: There are both classes in UCLA Rec but also FREE options! It is called Flexible Fridays: the classes are weekly and there are a couple times on each Friday to help accommodate your busy schedules!
  • Competitive Sports: If you are interested in something with a little more competition, these programs are great for you! We have Club, Intramural, and Unified teams! The Club teams are generally for the fun of competing with your fellow Bruins and other schools but they are largely student initiated. For something a bit more fierce, we have Intramural teams which are in a whole “league” of its own: because it consists of tournaments, leagues, meets, and special events! Last, but certainly not least, we have our Unified teams for anyone who wants to promote inclusion between those with and without disabilities, using sports to bond!
  • Adaptive Programs: UCLA Rec provides more great therapeutically-based programs for those with cognitive or physical disabilities to help widen their access to opportunities that will help them get active and promote wellness!

Now that you have all this information on ways to get active on campus, go sign up to participate in the PAC-12 challenge! Anyone can participate who is a UCLA supporter. Whether you’re a student, faculty or staff member, alumni, or fan of UCLA you’re welcome to join us and go for the championship! Have fun with getting active and I hope you all join this amazing competition to prove we’re the healthiest campus…and for the free stuff, fun programs, and to stay healthy!

Tiffany Hu is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics with a minor in Bioinformatics. She is a blogger for Move Well of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative. She is the co-Director of the Student Health Advocates, which focuses on educating students on various intersections of health. Tiffany is also the Special Projects and Alumni Coordinator of the UCLA Care Extender Internship, which helps students volunteer at all departments in the UCLA Medical Centers.


No Time, No Problem! 5 Tips to Getting Active with a College Schedule


I know exactly what you are thinking — it’s already Week 4 and you’ve been to the gym a total of, let’s just say, “a few” times. You’ve just been too busy joining new clubs, meeting new people, catching up on that monster load of homework, or contemplating what life even is. With so much on your to-do list, it’s easy for gym-time to be the last thing on your mind.

However, it’s incredibly important to stay active for your health: it helps you cope with stress, combat illnesses, and maintain your mental health; furthermore, it gives you more energy and helps you live a longer and stronger life! To reap all these benefits, the Department of Health and Human Services and the American Heart Association recommend 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week.

Now you’re probably saying: “I know it’s good for me but I just don’t have enough time!”

What if I told you that you can get active in less than ten minutes a day and it will cost nothing and be done at your leisure? I know it sounds too good to be true, but it’s possible, my fellow Bruins! You’ll be able to stay active, finish your homework, and avoid AECATG: awkward eye contact at the gym!

Here are 5 tips and tricks to get active in whatever time you have!

P.S. You can use some of these tips multiple times a day, so that you can reach that goal of 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week!

TIP #1: Use home goods lying about as weights!

A great alternative to dumbbells or barbells are ordinary objects you can find in your home! You can use soup cans or water bottles for some great 1-pound hand weights, but if you think you can handle bigger objects, try one of the following options:


Photo via Vimeo

  • For a great alternative for 3-pound weights, grab that sack of oranges and lift! Great for exercise and a boost of Vitamin C later for your diet!
  • For 5 pounders, you can grab a sack of potatoes or a gallon of whatever is in your fridge! Try to stick with two of the same objects though if you plan on taking one in each hand while exercising. Similarly, if you want to work with ten pounders, try using some large bottles of laundry detergent!

Some easy lifting workouts you can do with these alternative weights include the following:

  • The sumo squat! You take two soup cans or water bottles in you hands, ready to do bicep curls, and have your legs about two feet apart. While you do the squat, that’s when you do the bicep curl. Then, together, straighten your legs and arms. Repeat this for 10 times for 1 set.
  • The upright row! This is when you keep your feet about shoulder distance apart. Then keep your palms, closed around your weight, facing you. Then bring the weights up so that your elbows will bend to the sides. Then slowly bring it back down. Repeat this as well for 10 times for 1 set.

Also: remember to always be careful! Even though they are household items, you should still treat them as you would weights. Here’s some tips to keep in mind:

  • Remember to work at your own tempo when handling weights: meaning that you should never overestimate how much weight you can handle.
  • Start off small and then build up!
  • The weight should be a bit tiring by the last two repetitions in a set but you can still do in good form.
  • Try to also work out with another fitness pal so that they can spot you in case the weights are just too much.

TIP #2: Try some high intensity workouts!


Photo via Pixabay

Studies have shown that short high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are actually better than longer low intensity workouts. You know what that means? For all you people who hate distance running, you can switch to short high intensity intervals. Or if you just don’t have the time to run, this is a great alternative!

High intensity workouts are amazing because they can help you develop a stronger heart, while also burning fat! According to research associate in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Howard Knuttgen, interval training is an example of aerobic training, which is designed primarily to enhance your cardiovascular system. This means that you can develop a greater endurance, while devoting less time from your busy schedules to exercising.

A great example of these high intensity workouts is the New York Time’s Scientific 7 Minute Workout! All you have to do is jumping jacks, wall sits, push ups, ab crunches, step-ups with a chair, squats, tricep dips with a chair, planks, high knees running (in place: I promise, no endurance running), lunges, push-ups with rotation, and side-planks. You only have to do each of those for 30 seconds and you get a 10 second break in between each of them. Sounds great, doesn’t it? There are more great examples of these in 7-minute workout apps or online!

TIP #3: Why sit when you can stand?

SPOILER ALERT: sitting has been deemed to be the new smoking. Now what does that even mean? It means that we got to get up and start moving! I know it does not seem like sitting could have much of an effect on the way we live but it does! Researchers have been finding more evidence that it increases the chance of developing serious illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Because once the effects of long-term sitting begin, there will be no way to reverse them. So start now! Stand when you are watching television, seeing as you already sit doing homework (trust me guys: it’s called “taking a break.” I know, revolutionary). Or take a walk when you are talking to your best friend about your wonderful days! Just remember to reduce the amount of time your butt is attached to those chairs!

TIP #4: Start the week off great!



Photo via Flickr

Fact: Mondays are awful. But you could bump it up if you start working out early in the week!

By starting your workouts early on the first day of the week, you’ll be setting yourself up to continue working out for the rest of the week! In fact, research has even shown that most people will start their exercise routines on Mondays versus other days of the week. People will psychologically gear themselves up for working out if they start on Mondays! So start off your week right with some fun exercise, as it has many health benefits!

TIP #5: Do the exercising that you like!


Photo via Ellen Gerdes

Not all exercise is awful, I promise! If you don’t want to go to the gym or workout at home (because it all seems a bit boring), find an alternative! Join some fitness classes or do something with your friends! UCLA Rec offers loads of classes each quarter that are both fun and great in helping you get fit! (Pssttt!: they are also only $25 for UCLA students for the entire quarter!)

Part of getting fit is just enjoying it. Even if it is more than ten minutes a day, it would be well worth it if you enjoy it. If you don’t like your current fitness routine, you’ll be less inclined to do it. I know that sounds really obvious to most of you, but it’s true and you need to hear it! Running is not the only option! Weight lifting is not the only option! High intensity workouts are not the only option! Do what you love and you’ll see that it’ll go a long way! There are programs such as: competitive intramural programs, adaptive rec programs, FREE yoga (it’s so incredible it gets its own category!), and loads of other amazing programs to get you excited for living a healthy lifestyle! Just remember to have fun while you are getting fit!

Now that you all are loaded with these tips and tricks to slaying the fitness game, go out and do what you love while staying fit! I encourage all of you to at least try one of these tricks to see if it makes a difference (or just take my word for it and try them all)!

Good luck and know that we, the Healthy Campus Initiative, are with you on this amazing fitness journey!

Tiffany Hu is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics with a minor in Bioinformatics. She is a blogger for Move Well of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative. She is the co-Director of the Student Health Advocates, which focuses on educating students on various intersections of health. Tiffany is also the Special Projects and Alumni Coordinator of the UCLA Care Extender Internship, which helps students volunteer at all departments in the UCLA Medical Centers.