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Mojo Asks Students

Interesting Ways UCLA Students Stay Active at the John Wooden Center

Chances are, most of you have probably run on a treadmill. Which also means you’ve probably experienced the feeling that you’ve been running for a century, only to look down and stare incredulously at the little red numbers telling you that you’ve only run 0.3 miles. I’ve logged my share of miles on the treadmill (also commonly known as the dreadmill), but let’s face it: Running in one place with nothing to do but people-watch can get a bit boring after approximately two minutes a while.

I interviewed a variety of students sweating it out at the John Wooden Center, and discovered just a few of the different ways that students stay in shape (and without feeling like a hamster trapped on a hamster wheel).

  • Bhangra Bollywood Workout (pictured above)

This class is offered through the group exercise program at Wooden (which costs $25 a quarter for access to a variety of different classes). It combines Eastern Indian dance forms with other dance styles influenced by Bollywood. The music is upbeat and the instructor goes over the choreography a lot, so the class is fairly easy to follow. Third-year art history student Emily Niemann said┬áthat the class keeps her moving, yet isn’t as hardcore as some other workouts. She said she keeps coming back because she really likes the instructor, and she has a lot of fun at each class.

  • Krav Maga

Krav Maga is an easy-to-learn self-defense system that involves hand-to-hand combat. It was developed by the Israeli military, and in addition to having practical use, the class provides a good cardiovascular workout. Julia Wu, a fourth-year history student, said that she likes how the class is taught because it simulates being attacked on the street. When asked to compare the workout to running on a treadmill, she said that it works out a lot more of the upper body and requires more thinking. Students in the class practice in pairs and learn a variety of punches, kicks and blocks, as well as how to get out of different choke holds. First-year chemical engineering student Jett Appel had never tried a martial art before signing up for Krav Maga, and he said that he liked that the class isn’t about competition, just self defense. Krav Maga is offered each quarter for $35 and meets once a week for 8 weeks.

  • Rock Wall Climbing

If you’re like me, you’ve probably walked by the indoor rock wall countless times at the John Wooden Center without a second thought. But you probably didn’t know that after taking one $15 beginner rock wall orientation class, you can come back and climb whenever you want for free. Patrick Nguyen, a fourth-year English student, climbs often, even though he’s afraid of heights. He said rock climbing allows him to use his fitness to overcome that fear. He really likes the social aspect of climbing, too. And if you’re wondering if only the pros go and climb (because they all pretty much look like Spiderman when they’re jumping from hold to hold), Nguyen says that rock climbing is for everyone. “The only way you can get better at rock climbing is by rock climbing,” he added.

  • Hula Hoop Workout

Remember those days back in second grade when everyone was good at hula hooping? Well, you can take a trip down memory lane and take this hula hooping class (offered through the group exercise program) that also provides you with a good core workout. Yifang Nie, a third-year biochemistry student, said that she comes back to the class because it’s a great ab workout. She said she likes to run, but that running can get boring. “(Hula hooping) is a more exciting way to work out than running or lifting weights all day,” she said. The class is fairly easy to pick up because the choreography isn’t too complicated. And don’t worry, you don’t need to bring your own hula hoop!

  • Musical Theater Jazz

If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like to be in a Broadway show, this is the class to take. The class, which is new this quarter, begins with stretches and warm-ups, then some tutorials on basic dance moves, such as chasses, chaines and pirouettes (in English, that’s steps, turns and spins). ┬áThe bulk of the class is spent learning a dance from a popular musical. Kellie Selmser, a third-year political science student, said she loves jazz, but the musical theater aspect spices up the class even more. “Musical theater jazz is different because it’s big, cheesy, fun and lyrical,” she said. Although the choreography can be tough for beginners, the class is open to people of all skill levels.

What’s an interesting way that you stay in shape? Comment below or tweet us @dbmojo and let us know!

With blogging contributions by Brian Pham.

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