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Fitness regimen strengthens mind and body

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Alfred Mejia, a University of La Verne volleyball player, uses the Thera-Band exercise ball in Strength and Conditioning Coach Matt Durant's advanced weight-lifting class. The Thera-Band exercise ball forces the athlete to use more muscles than he would use doing regular push-ups. / photo by Amy Babin

Alfred Mejia, a University of La Verne volleyball player, uses the Thera-Band exercise ball in Strength and Conditioning Coach Matt Durant’s advanced weight-lifting class. The Thera-Band exercise ball forces the athlete to use more muscles than he would use doing regular push-ups. / photo by Amy Babin

by Rima Thompson
Arts Editor

It’s mid-October and throughout the University of La Verne, students are juggling their studies and work. Some, however, know that a key part in balancing a hectic school and work schedule requires a form of physical fitness.

While ULV offers unique activities such as kickboxing and Taekwondo, some students are sticking to more traditional activities.

Senior psychology major Jacqueline Foreman said that she likes dancing and has a membership at L.A. Fitness, a place in which she has the choice of doing pilates, yoga and hip-hop dancing.

“(Exercise) helps relieve some of that stress you build up from schoolwork,” Foreman said.

Michelle Hu, a freshmen communications major, enjoys the social interactions that accompany her physical activity. Being a part of the dance team and cheerleading competition squad, Hu said she does weight training for an hour every Monday and Wednesday morning.

Others like Lesley Araujo, a senior liberal studies major, said physical activities help to increase her stamina so that she is able to perform well on the dance field.

“It keeps you healthy, especially for me. I have really thin blood and low iron, so it helps keep my heart rate up. It keeps me stable,” she said.

A challenge and sense of personal accomplishment is another reason students get involved with physical activity as well as its ability to make them feel good about themselves.

“When you work out, you feel confident about yourself. It increases your self-esteem,” said senior criminology major Annie Wypchlak, who does running and cardiovascular activities and lifts weights.

Senior marketing major Rachel Leber is a jogger and she said she tries to run every morning with her mom, who is recovering from breast cancer.

“The doctor told her she had to get out, so every morning we go and jog for a half an hour,” Leber said.

When she is not dancing for the ULV dance team, Leber likes to swim.

She said she has to do physical activity because she has asthma and a family history of cancer.

If Leber is inactive for more than a week, she said her asthma flares up, with her weekly routines so that her asthma stays at a level base; otherwise, she could have an attack in the middle of a performance or in the heat.

Decreased anxiety, increased retention and relaxation are other reasons students give for participating in physical activities.

“For students, I think most importantly, it’s a great stress relief,” said Gabe Duran, head men’s basketball coach and associate professor of movement and sports science.

“If you are studying for (a) final, have some extra energy to burn and you are all anxious about the test, you go out for a nice jog or lift some weights,” he said.

“You come back and it releases some of that stress, burns off some of that anxiety and helps (you) to concentrate a little better,” Duran said.

Liko Tubbs, senior and liberal studies major, is a member of the men’s volleyball team and agreed that working out gives him energy, making him less tired when he has to do work.

However, he said when he’s off-season he doesn’t work out but has friends that go to places like L.A. Fitness on a regular basis.

Perhaps, one of the most important reasons some students give is the improvement in their appearance due to being physically active.

“Even athletes, for example, who come to (ULV) from high school after having not been in a strength training program, they get in a strength training program here and they start to see that they look better, so their overall wellness improves; they have better self-esteem,” Duran said.

Whether it is running, dancing, playing sports or joining a fitness club, ULV students have discovered that physical fitness is a main component in maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit.

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