Tag Archives: health

LA Fitness on a Budget

By Alicia Roman

Everyone knows that living in LA can cost a small fortune. However, staying active in LA doesn’t have to be expensive. With 365 days of sunshine, there are endless opportunities to stay active without spending more than a few dollars. Many people believe you have to be confined to the crowded campus gym, but with the following options just a short train/car ride away you’ll be looking at your workout regime with new energy and enthusiasm!

Hiking is a great way to explore a new area while also getting in some exercise. There are several hiking trails within a 20-minute drive from the USC campus. Take a trip to the Hollywood Hills at sunset and hike the 3.5 miles up to Wisdom Tree. This hike offers beautiful views of the Hollywood Reservoir and Downtown LA. Another option is to take a train to Los Feliz and visit the stunning Griffith Observatory. Most people will drive up to the Observatory, but an even better option is to hike to the top. It’s a quick and easy 40-minute hike from Fern Dell Dr. to the Griffith Observatory. Once at the top, you are rewarded with one of LA’s best views.

Photo by daveynin on Flickr

If you aren’t a big fan of hiking but enjoy the water, take advantage of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The Rose Bowl has countless options and it’s free of busy and overcrowded streets. Take a jog around the Rose Bowl, known to locals as the “Rose Bowl Loop”. You can stop by the Aquatics Center and take a $2.00 swim in their olympic size pool. If you’re not looking to swim or run, you can enjoy a nice bike ride around the complex. The Rose Bowl is a great option for those who need variety but aren’t looking to spend a lot on a gym membership.

Most people love going to the beach to relax and enjoy the weather. The beach can also be a great place to get in a weekend workout. Santa Monica Beach is only a short train ride from the USC campus. The beach can also be a nice place to workout when the weather’s too hot to be indoors. Santa Monica has several options for fitness and fun. Take a long walk along the beach or bring along a workout video from your phone and try it out on the sand. It will definitely add an element of difficulty to your regular workout. If you’re feel really adventurous you can visit the outdoor gym which is literally right on the sand! The best part of a beach workout is when you’re finished, you can take a refreshing dip in the ocean water!

With so many options around USC, you never have to feel like the gym is your only option. Sometimes, doing something different can remind you why you love exercising. Grab your suit and head to the beach or slip on your tennis shoes and go for a hike! You’ll be able to check out your new LA neighborhood with all the added health benefits.

Featured image from Wikimedia Commons

Alicia has a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Clark University. She is currently enrolled in the Masters of Educational Counseling within Rossier School of Education. She has spent several years working in the field of Education. She spent three years living and teaching ESL in Taipei, Taiwan. She also coaches a special needs swim team at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena. When she is not working, she loves reading, traveling, watching movies, and exercising.

Emerging Adulthood

By Elizabeth Goodman

Going away to college whether it is close to home, across the country, or across the world presents an exciting and challenging time in any student’s life. For some, including myself, it is their first time living away from home where a newfound sense of independence and responsibility are formed. It’s an exciting, stimulating and fun time, but also one that can be characterized by anxiety, insecurity, and depression, making for a complex stage of life. This marks the beginning of a unique stage that was recently identified in 2000 by psychologist Jeffrey Arnett called, “Emerging Adulthood,” the period between adolescence and young adulthood, respectively (Arnett 2000). Its concepts and features are fascinating and applicable to almost all USC students, as this new stage concerns 18-25 year olds. As emerging adults, it is important to learn about this period in your life to fully understand the steps to becoming an adult in American society.

Emerging adulthood is characterized by five features: self-focus, instability, possibilities/optimism, identity exploration, and feeling in-between (Arnett 2014). Self-focus means this is a time where it is all about you and you have fewer ties and obligations to others. Instability in all facets of life is feeling like you are supposed to have a plan, but also knowing it will be revised many times. Optimism is feeling like anything is still possible at this time. Identity exploration is about asking yourself questions such as “Who am I? What do I want to be? What kind of person am I looking for romantically?” (Arnett 2014). Feeling in-between means not feeling like an adolescent, but also not feeling like an adult just yet (Arnett 2014).

As an aspiring Occupational Therapist, I am intrigued by development. As an emerging adult, I am especially interested in learning about this stage of life. Dr. Kim Morris-Eggleston is teaching her first semester of a two-unit course she created called, “OT 280- Essential Occupations of Emerging Adulthood” under the USC Chan Division of Occupational Therapy. The course is designed to, “Analyze the “emerging adulthood” stage of development in American society through an occupational science lens that includes sociology, anthropology, psychology, economics, and business” (Morris 2017). The course also focuses on themes in occupational therapy such as how to improve the health and wellness of emerging adults.

Continue reading Emerging Adulthood

But First, Take a Breath

By Yoko Fukumura

It’s finals season. Or it’s application season. Maybe it’s your first semester at college. Maybe it’s your last semester of school before you head off to the world.

No matter where you are in life, most of the time you probably have something big on your mind. And it’s not a bad thing – it means that you’re working hard and pushing yourself! But as important as it is to succeed and reach towards your goals, it is equally, if not more, important to be in tune with your mind and body.

As young adults sometimes we feel invincible. We think that we can eat cereal and instant noodles for weeks and pull all-nighters because self care can wait, but the test tomorrow will not wait. I’m also guilty of this and I can attest that this is false – I’ve done better when I prioritized eating and sleeping over studying on the last day. Even if our overworked immune system makes up for all the unhealthy choices momentarily, our physical and mental health might be taking a toll that ultimately affects your studies and future.

Doing well in school is not irrelevant, but your health will decide whether you do well, in school and after. These are a couple small things that I have found helpful along the way that don’t take up too much time.

First, you need to get to know yourself. If you don’t know your limits, it’s hard to plan ahead or know when to stop. We commend hard work, but we can’t keep working hard if we don’t know our limits. Writing a daily journal entry is one simple way to get to know yourself better, and it makes you tune in to your self at least briefly every day. If a blank paper isn’t enough structure for you, you could also get “Q&A a Day” at a bookstore or on Amazon.

Another big one for me was picking up an activity to do fairly consistently. In school, we have multiple deadlines and exams that have hard set dates and limited flexibility, but your hobbies and exercise are flexible. I try to exercise every day – nothing big, anything from ten minutes to thirty minutes on weekdays so that I don’t intimidate myself out of it. When I’m busy I can skip it without feeling guilty – it’s almost like tricking your mind and body so that when you have less time, you have surplus energy. One of the great resources of USC is the Recreational Sports program. There are many affordable fitness programs, from yoga and mindfulness to kickboxing. If you find group classes intimidating, there are 1-on-1 personal training and private session pilates/yoga as well. You can find more about the options here: https://sait.usc.edu/recsports/

Lastly, the easiest to do but also the easiest to forget, is to take deep breaths. Diaphragmatic breathing involves using the muscle between your lungs and abdominal area to breathe deeply (this youtube link explains and helps visualize the diaphragm), and one of our automatic reactions to stress is to take shallow breaths. Deep breathing has many lasting physiological effects, including inhibiting your body’s stress response. Stress affects not just your mind but your whole body, and too much of it can cause long term effects such as memory issues, high blood pressure, and migraines, among others. Breathing can be done anywhere – during class, on a bus, in your bed. It only takes a second, but you could feel better for the entire day, which affects your next day, week, and semester.

Your test tomorrow is important. But first, take a breath.

Featured image from Pixabay

Yoko is a 1st year graduate student in USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. She is originally from Boston, Massachusetts where she studied piano performance at New England Conservatory of Music. Born to Japanese immigrant parents, Yoko is very familiar with both the challenges and beauties of cultural diversity. She is also an expert collaborator and teacher from her experience teaching piano and performing in ensembles.