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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!


Funtastic Benefits to Taking Breaks

Hello, Bruin Movers and Shakers! Everyone here at MoveWell hopes that you are hitting those finals out of the park and keeping up with a healthy lifestyle!

Those of you completely invested in studying may feel like you can’t bear to take a quick break, but breaks will definitely help your studying process in the long run!

Here are some benefits to taking breaks:

  1. Gets the brain moving again


    Photo via Google Images

    Regardless of what kind of break you are taking, whether it’s to watch that fifteenth (fiftieth if we’re honest) cat video or eating a snack or getting up to dance to your favorite song, these breaks help rest our brains and get you back on track. Although that sounds counterintuitive, it definitely works! Recent studies have shown that by taking a break, we’ll have renewed focus because studying straight for a long time causes the brain to numb and check out. So take that break to get back on track!


  2. Taking a movement break helps us physically and mentally


    Photo via White House Archives

    What’s even better than a snack break? A movement break! If you are feeling the inevitable slump of studying, get up and start moving! Movement will not only help your body, but also your mind. As the Scientific American states, moving for even a few minutes, whether it’s dancing to your favorite song or doing some jumping jacks, helps circulate blood around your body and brings more oxygen to the brain. Help your body and brain out by making sure to move around a bit after sitting for awhile!


  3. A change of scenery can help you both refocus and recall better


    Photo via Flickr

    Heading outside or just moving to a new place to study helps you refocus by giving your brain a new place to feed off of. Completely new stimulus will help bring your brain out of its lull. Also, by studying in new places, the brain will be able to form connections to the information quicker and better. The brain is constantly making connections between what you are studying and the environments where these connections were made. By changing your scenery, you will help your brain make better connections with what you are studying so that, by the time test day comes, your brain will be able to recall the information faster.


  4. Fresh air can help with stress and boost your immune system


    Photo via Google Images

    Did you know that a simple walk outside could help boost your immunity? (And who wants to get sick during finals?) Whether it’s a short walk or a full exercise regiment, some light movement outside will build your immunity. According to Ather Ali, ND, MPH, exercise can help create an increase in the body’s creation of natural killer cells, which increase immune function. Strolling outside smelling fresh air, especially near some greenery, helps reduce stress and increase happiness- as studies have shown. And as winter (finally) hits us with some rain, the smell of the downpour can help relieve stress as well. According to Smithsonian Magazine, we associate the smell of rain with the color green, which could be linked with the growth of things we eat. Regardless of the reason, taking a stroll outside helps for loads of reasons so get out and start walking!

Remember all this next time you feel guilty about taking a break. They can only help you!

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.