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Fast and Simple Ways To Stay in Shape

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By Geraldine Tran
Staff Writer

During the first couple weeks of medical school, my college advisor urged me to determine what was necessary for me to function at my optimum level, be it time devoted to exercising, music or art. Outside activities that keep you at your best are far from a waste of time, they are in fact crucial to your well-being. After finishing our first three medical school exams and keeping a schedule of exercising at least five days a week, I am convinced that we can get in better shape even at our busiest!

Staying active does not have to be a huge time commitment. There are lots of ways to exercise efficiently around UCSF.  Only have half an hour? Drop in for CXWORX, a full body-strengthening class, offered at both Millberry Union and Bakar Fitness centers. If you need to do strengthening and cardio, take an Athletic Conditioning class. If none of the classes fit your schedule, there are tons of fitness apps you can download to your smartphone that offer good workouts. Instead of designing my own workout, I like to use the Nike Training App on my iPhone, which has workouts ranging from 15 to 45 minutes in length. 

My roommate and I recently fit in a quick 15-minute kettle bell and burpee workout, plus 20 minutes of cardio, in the middle of the week, and it felt great. On days you don’t want to be in the gym, utilize our urban setting. My favorite streets around the Parnassus campus are Third Avenue and Hillway Avenue. These steep slopes make for fantastic walking breaks. The Inner Sunset is dotted with challenging, butt-busting hills that make effective high-intensity interval training workouts. 

However, I’m a firm believer that “Abs are made in the gym, and revealed in the kitchen.”  Fortunately for the weeks when planning lunches and snacks are not high on the priority list, there are a multitude of healthy options at UCSF.  For breakfast, you can find plain oatmeal in Moffitt Cafeteria and Courtyard Caffe. For lunch, there are great soups and salads at Moffitt Cafeteria (white bean chili) and at Palio Caffè (split pea). Palio Caffè also prepares delicious specialty salads with champagne vinaigrette and my favorite starchy vegetable, butternut squash. If you crave something sweet, but want to stay healthy, head to Courtyard Caffe for a couple slices of maple-glazed sweet potato. 

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, I know everyone is excited to work off the holiday bloat and get on track with his or her fitness and healthy eating goals. During the next month, you may find yourself immersed in work or gearing up for your final before winter break. Remember that staying active and advancing your fitness routine (or starting one) is important, too. 

Geraldine Tran is a first-year medical student.

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