Student Hobbies Support Fitness

Students biking, dancing hula, and engaging in martial arts. Illustration by Míceal Munroe-Allsup.

College fitness does not have to be limited to an hour on the treadmill in Odell or the rush from your dorm to your 8 a.m class. Despite being full-time students, many individuals have hobbies that allow them to exercise.

Malina Kobayashi ’22 enjoys dancing hula in a halau back home in Hawaii. A halau is a group that comes together to learn about the Hawaiian culture and the art of sharing that culture through dance. She maintains some of her practices while at school to keep her memory sharp. Although hula may seem effortless to some, there is actually a lot of physical discipline required.

“You’re giving yourself to the dance,” Kobayashi said. “You constantly have to tell a story through your face and body. There’s so much movement even in a slow dance. You have to look so graceful all the time.”

The constant discipline is what turns a graceful dance into a taxing workout. Moves have to be as close to perfection as possible, meaning practices can last hours.

“I’m not doing hula just to get fit,” Kobayashi said. “The exercise is just a bonus.”

Gabe Barrero ’21 brought his passion for jiu-jitsu from home and incorporated it into his daily college routine. He learned jiu-jitsu at a young age with his dad and brother and has continued learning fighting methods since.

“It’s like fighting on the ground,” Barrero said. “There’s no punching. Mostly, it’s using leverage and your body weight with the other person’s body weight.”

Barrero often practices at Nemesis, a gym in downtown Portland. He has found jiu-jitsu to be both an escape and a reward for a heavy workload and has often used it as an outlet for stress relief for much of his life.

“It was (a) fun stress reliever for high school and it was something (I could) do with my family,” Barrero said.

Ian Estes ’21 has found mountain biking to be a great excuse to justify an escape from the stress of school and an opportunity to see new places in a different way.

“It  started when I was in high school,” Estes said. “My friend and I would get together on our bikes and ride around the city.”

However, getting a car allowed Estes to travel to more interesting locations around his hometown in Kansas City.

“We could only originally get to the places we could bike to, but then that kind of extended and I got my car and I started to drive my car more around the city up to hour and a half drive to go mountain bike.” Estes said.

Estes has found ways to continue to mountain bike while at LC.

“Out here, I mostly ride my bike down the trails by the cemetery and ride down the road down the cemetery,” Estes said. ”There’s walking trails that aren’t supposed to be for mountain biking but a lot of people go on them. Now that I have my car I go places like Forest Park.”

Mountain biking has allowed him to explore new areas of Portland, both natural and urban, like Sellwood. For Estes, biking sometimes takes precedence over schoolwork.

“If  it’s a nice day, biking comes first,” Estes said. “I see it as a good way to destress and get clear headed before doing work.”

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