Be Active

Exercise keeps your body in good shape and can reduce anxiety and depression. Exercise doesn't have to mean going to the gym alone. UCSC has lots of ways to get active! Check out the campus programs for physical fitness below. Or maybe a simple routine of walking and stretching is more your style. This page has information on all of those things.

Campus Programs for Physical Fitness


Walking and Stretching: Easy, Enjoyable, and 100% Free!

"Practicing moderate exercise for 15 minutes a day can increase life expectancy up to three years." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Walking is the easiest health improvement strategy we can implement for ourselves. The medical evidence for walking is significant showing improved health outcomes cognitively, physically, mentally and emotionally in thousands of studies.  Walking is easy to do for many people and has a low risk for injury compared to other fitness activities. Research has shown that even 10 minutes of brisk walking per day can have measurable health benefits. Here at UCSC, we have endless walking choices and beautiful surroundings to enjoy along the way.

Some of the Best Places to Walk at UCSC

Learn About the Benefits of Walking 

Tips to Build Walking Into Your Day

  1. Set a goal. Ex: Walking three times a week at lunch for fifteen minutes.
  2. Schedule time for walking. Ex: block it out in your calendar, set a phone alarm to remind you.
  3. Get your walking supplies together and have them accessible. Ex: pack walking shoes, earbuds, a sun hat and a hoodie in your backpack, then cue your walking playlist of your favorite tunes.
  4. Make a list of places you want to walk to. Ex: level walking routes, uphill walking routes, etc.
  5. Have a few sips of water before you walk (hydration matters!)
  6. Begin your walk, breathe in fresh air and notice your surroundings. Campus is beautiful!
  7. Try to build in 5 minutes afterwards to cool down, hydrate and change shoes.
  8. Bonus: track or log your activity to help build new behaviors. 

Walking Buddies: The Power of Support

When we engage in a new health behavior, support from others can be crucial to us continuing with a new behavior. Accountability to others can help us be more successful when it comes to our health. Establishing a walking buddy or a walking group at work is a great way to support your walking goals. Walking buddies can also make a workout more fun and help you build friendships at work. Some walking buddies will set goals and also use a group app to share successes and challenges. Check out this short "Walking Buddies: Finding Motivation" video.

Walking Meetings

Need to collaborate on a project? Try a walking meeting! Use your smartphone to record conversations or make to-do lists as you walk. Not only is it fun and healthy, but according to Stanford University researchers, “Walking helps generate new ideas and improves creativity.”

Walking and Technology

When building a walking routine, you can use a tool to track your distance, number of days walked and levels of difficulty. Many people use tools to help them commit to health activity.

Smart phones have built in pedometers and other tools so you can see how much you are walking each day, level of difficulty and elevation you reached. Your phone might have one already installed, or you can download a free low-cost app. Clip-on Pedometers are available online and at many pharmacies.

Walking Meditations

Yes, walking meditations are thing! They're great for everyone, and they're especially helpful for people who have trouble sitting still to meditate. Learn how to do a walking meditation (UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center).


Stretch! Reduce the Harmful Effects of Too Much Sitting

“Sitting has become the new smoking…” Dr. James Levine

Too Much Sitting is Bad for Your Health

Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative, studies the adverse effects of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. He summed up his years of research in two sentences: “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.” 

Tips to Reduce Harm from Sitting

  • Try to take a break from sitting every 30 minutes (set an alarm on your computer or phone to remind you to stand up for a few minutes.)
  • Stand while talking on the phone.
  • Stretch and stand while listening to online lectures.
  • Try a standing desk if you can get access to one.
  • Walk with your friends and classmates when you get together instead of always sitting down.
  • Take the stairs whenever you can.

Stretching: Why Do It?

Stretching is a tool that all of us can use throughout our work day. People who take small breaks throughout their day to stretch experience less pain from extended sitting and computer use. There are many health benefits that can occur when stretching such as promoting blood circulation, providing energy boosts when fatigued and loosening tight muscles when you are under stress. Learn more about the top 10 health benefits of stretching. Stretching regularly:

  • Keeps muscles flexible, strong, and healthy
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves balance and posture
  • Decreases risk of repetitive use disorders
  • Decreases risk of musculoskeletal injury
  • Improves muscle coordination
  • Improves productivity

How to Stretch

Sitting too long in a lecture or study session? Check out these stretches used by office workersthey're great for students, too.

stretching graphic

Stretch in Your Chair or at a Desk

Stretching Apps