WORKOUT WEDNESDAY: Tips for a Healthy Hike

This blog post was written by Ben Smart and is published as part of our blog exchange with Tar Heel Tone-Up.

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Sedona, Arizona

Fresh air, breathtaking views, and space to explore – these are just a few of the tangible reasons to enjoy an outdoor hike. Engaging your mind and body with a short excursion could also yield health benefits extending beyond physical exercise. Research with nearly 2,000 participants in England found that walking outdoors in a group delivered a significant mood boost as well as lower perceived stress and depression, especially for those experiencing stress from a traumatic life event.

Before lacing up your boots and heading to the trail, take the time to pack and prepare the right way. We’ve compiled a few tips to make your next hike the healthiest to date.

Let’s start with your pack. If your filled backpack weighs more than a few pounds, it’s a good idea to select an ergonomic pack with waist strap capabilities, which will take the bulk of the weight off of your back and distribute it to your torso. When wearing the backpack, adjust the shoulder straps first so that the backpack fits comfortably on your shoulders, and then fasten the waist strap.

Now that your backpack is up to par, let’s examine the contents. Take everything out of your backpack and lay in on a table. Are you bringing any unnecessary items? Think twice before packing the second tube of toothpaste or the heavy binoculars. Ensure that you’ve packed a conservative first aid kit, and one or two plastic bags; these can really come in handy.

The most important part (and my favorite aspect) of hiking is food and hydration. Fill a stainless steel bottle (or two) full of water for the trek. Metal is preferred over plastic, as many plastic bottles can leach small amount of toxic BPA or other chemicals into your water, which means you’ll be drinking those chemicals.

As for snacks, aim for balanced portions. If you’re only hiking 1-3 miles, high protein and low carbohydrate food can be sufficient fuel. Three ideas:

  • Turkey sandwich with spinach and cheese, accompanied with a side of almonds
  • Tuna and high-fiber crackers, completed with an apple and peanut butter
  • Salmon and a whole grain tortilla, topped off with a banana and cheese

Once you’re hiking, remember to make smart choices. Take your trash to go, don’t litter. Watch your step, and adopt a wide stance when scaling steep trails. Finally, look up from the cell phone and enjoy the view! If you keep your eyes peeled, you’re sure to find some wildlife.

Ready to take a weekend hike? Check out UNC Campus Recreation’s outdoor expedition schedule here for events this summer.

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Compete to WIN a $1,000 GRAND Prize at LDOC HeelFest–Auditions start this Week…

That’s RIGHT–your or your student group could win $1,000 at the very first LDOC HeelFest!!!

LDOC HeelFest will be an end-of-year talent show extravaganza. This is the first year UNC is doing this event and it is a collaboration among multiple campus departments and student groups. It will be held at Ehringhaus Field from 4-8pm on LDOC, which is Friday April 24th. The talent show will feature a showcase of UNC student talent, and the students at the event will get to vote on the winning performer/group. The Grand Prize will be a cash amount, TBD.

Come to auditions this week and next…Let’s see what you got!

LDOC HeelFest audition schedule
LDOC HeelFest audition schedule

WORKOUT WEDNESDAY: Top Summer Sports to Get Active & Feel Your Best

It’s no secret that exercise is key to a healthy lifestyle. But it’s time to look beyond the four corners of the gym – to the outdoor terrain. From courts and rinks, to paths and trails, it’s likely that numerous opportunities for fun activities are nestled within your local community. Allow your worries to fade away, and let the adventure begin. Read on for few of our favorite summer sports – and what you’ll need to get started!


Sport: Tennis
What You’ll Need: tennis shoes, tennis racket, tennis balls
Exercise Benefits: fully body- cardiovascular and muscular

Bring your game back to campus fall 2014


Sport: Mountain Biking
What You’ll Need: mountain bike, helmet,
Exercise Benefits: primarily quadriceps, hamstrings, calves

Bring your game back to campus fall 2014


Sport: Cross Country
What You’ll Need: a quality pair of running shoes
Exercise Benefits: cardiovascular, aids bone density

Bring your game back to campus fall 2014


Sport: Badminton
What You’ll Need: badminton racket, shuttles, badminton net
Exercise Benefits: fully body- cardiovascular and muscular

Bring your game back to campus fall 2014


Workout Wednesday: Yoga – What You Need to Know

People who are unfamiliar with the virtues of yoga view it in several different ways.  Some look upon the activity with disdain and only see the “yogi” sitting on the ground doing nothing. Others consider yoga an activity only for women, the “weak”, or the elderly. And then there are those who think that yoga is wishy-washy spiritual nonsense. All of these views are misconceptions – dead wrong. In fact, yoga has been scientifically proven to increase flexibility, increase circulation, lower blood pressure, increase serotonin levels, lower cholesterol and much more. When done correctly, it can be argued that there are no negative effects of yoga on the body.

yoga woman

There are literally thousands of testimonials to the healing power of yoga. Check out this video to see a war veteran who went from physically disabled to fit using yoga:

Yoga includes a variety of different kinds of movements – ranging from very low exertion to outright difficult. The key is to select movements that best suit your level of fitness and personal goals. Do some personal research to decide which kind of yoga is best for you.

So what does this mean for you? Yoga can be a great addition to your healthy lifestyle, and it’s very easy to start. Yoga can be done at any time of the day- morning, afternoon, or evening. Personally, I find that yoga is a great morning routine, as it helps me wake up and find inner peace before going out into the world.

Here are some tips for the beginner yogi:

  1. Wear comfortable clothing that is light and fitted.
  2. There is no reason to feel nervous. Everyone has a first time.
  3. Bring a water bottle and a towel.
  4. If you feel overwhelmed or tired, it’s ok to lie down for a moment.
  5. Give it your all – fully focus on the movements and leave your outside troubles at the door.
  6. Remember that everyone is at a different point in his or her own fitness journey, so don’t compare yourself to the abilities of those around you. Yoga is not a competition, but rather a personal experience.

yoga woman2

Here are 8 great poses for yoga beginners.

There are several yoga classes available free to UNC students through Campus Rec! Here is the schedule for Ram’s Head Recreation Center.

Workout Wednesday blog posts are written by UNC Campus Recreation staff members. Each Wednesday we’ll be swapping blog posts with the Tarheel Tone Up blog so that our readers can view more diverse post topics that will benefit their health and wellness. Wednesday blog posts can be found both here and on

Workout Wednesdays: Avoid the Cold – Attend a Group Fitness Class

What happened?! It went from being 80-something degrees every day to feeling like the middle of winter in Chicago (okay…well maybe not today, but the cold will kick in soon enough!). With the chilly weather, sometimes it seems easier to lay around in your sweatpants, drink hot chocolate and watch repeat Friends episodes. If you are an outdoor runner, heat or cold, all the power to you! But for those of us who need a little motivation to exercise, check out these indoor classes! They’ll get your heart pumping, and despite it being freezing outside, you’ll be sweating!
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4 Things You Need to Know on Halloween

Ahh, Halloween. As a kid, it was a time to prepare a costume, carve a pumpkin, gather with friends and family, and have a wholesome night of fun dedicated to obtaining and consuming too much candy. For adults, Halloween is still about consuming too much. But for some, it’s alcohol causing the tummy aches.

There are many ways to celebrate Halloween without alcohol present: Have a costume competition with some friends, bake up some tasty Halloween-themed treats, have a scary movie marathon, or plot an elaborate way to scare the crap out of your roommate. But if you choose to have an adult beverage to celebrate Halloween this evening, make sure you do these 4 easy things to stay safe and avoid tummy aches.

  1. Eat a meal before you start drinking, and make sure you have plenty of water before and during drinking. Eating a meal beforehand helps slow down the effects of alcohol and will allow you to make safer decisions all night. And alcohol is a diuretic, which means it dehydrates you, so it is important to drink water all night. Also, switching between non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages is a good way to make sure things don’t get out of hand.
  2. Know how much you are drinking. Don’t drink from communal punch bowls, trashcans, etc. as you have no way of knowing how much alcohol is in there and how it will affect you. Also, the taste of the alcohol is easily masked, so don’t rely on how strong the punch tastes. Taking back control over how much alcohol you are consuming by making your own drinks.
  3. Use the buddy system. Don’t be afraid to speak up or take action if there is something going on that you or your friends are uncomfortable with. Everyone is entitled to having a good time on Halloween, and that starts with feeling safe. Keeping an eye on each other can help get you there.
  4. Have an exit strategy. Some of the most dangerous situations arise late in the night, when people have had too much alcohol to make good decisions. Set a limit for yourself ahead of time, because it’s hard to know when to stop once you have started. So decide ahead of time when you are heading home, and have plans in place to get home safe. Obviously, don’t get into a car when the driver has been drinking. Have a way to get a cab, take a bus, or call a sober friend as a backup.

With these things in mind, have a happy, healthy, safe Halloween!


Are you a self-proclaimed “foodie”? If so, today is a special day for you. Today is National Food Day, a day dedicated to celebrating healthy, affordable and sustainable food.
The typical fast-food driven American diet has severe health implications such as increased risk for disease and premature death. Acknowledging these consequences, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) created the Food Day campaign just one year ago as a movement toward a better food system.

In only one year’s time Food Day has become viral, engaging all Americans to “eat real”! Food Day supporters believe that Americans of all ages, races, incomes and geographic locations should have the opportunity to select healthy dietary choices.
Learn more about this movement by watching the food day video here:

Want to get involved?


Healthy Heels Weekend

It’s time for another Healthy Heels weekend, and the beautiful weather came just in time.  It’s going to be a dream weekend for any music or drama buffs out there.  Also, there will be plenty of opportunities to cheer on the Tarheels.  Details below:



Music on the Street – Tubby Ridge Band (FREE)

Friday, September 28, 6 PM, Modern Fossil Parking Lot, Weaver Street


“Tubby Ridge’s catchy gypsy folk tunes have delighted audiences at venues such as the Festival for the Eno, Pinecone’s Summer Music Concert at Bond Park, and Durham Art Walk. Featured on NPR’s Car Talk, American Songwriter Magazine, and Celtic Roots Radio. The band includes award-winning guitarist Justin Johnson and noted blues singer Lise Uyanik.”



Carrboro Music Festival (FREE)

Sunday, September 30, 1 PM, throughout Carrboro


“The day long, free festival features all styles of music at numerous indoor and outdoor venues around downtown Carrboro. In the space of a few hours (and within a few blocks) a listener can hear Bluegrass, Folk, Jazz, Country, Rock & Roll, Classical, and World Music. There remains a consistent effort to showcase Triangle area performers and the varied musical styles they represent. All of the performers donate their talents to foster a strong sense of community and as a way to reveal their talents to a wider audience.”

There will be over 180 acts in 25 venues.  Checkout for the schedule.



CUAB movies @ The Union


Seeking a Friend at the End of the World
Friday, September 28, 7pm
Saturday, September 29, 9:30pm


Being Flynn
Friday, September 28, 10:30pm
Saturday, September 29, 7pm



Playmakers @ Center for Dramatic Art – RED

Friday, September 28, 7:30 PM

Saturday, September 29, 7:30 PM

Sunday, September 30, 2:00 PM


PlayMakers Mainstage Season opens with the 2010 Tony Award-winner for Best Play. “Red” takes you into the studio of Mark Rothko, pioneer of abstract expressionism, and into the mind of an artist wrestling with the eternal struggle between art and commerce. Seen through the eyes of his young, increasingly challenging assistant, Rothko agonizes over a lucrative project painting murals for the new Four Seasons Restaurant. Has he sold out to fame and fortune or is he still a real artist?

Tickets start at $15



UNC Sports


Women’s Soccer vs. #1 Florida State

Thursday, September 27, 7:00 PM, Fetzer Field


Football vs. Idaho

Friday, September 29, 3:30 PM, Kenan Stadium


Volleyball vs. Georgia Tech

Sunday, September 30, 1:00 PM, Carmicheal Arena

Healthy Heels Weekend

Even though this weekend is shorter than last weekend, you still have plenty of time to enjoy some fun events! Here are just a few things that are happening:

Free Movies at the Union
Friday and Saturday – Bring your One Card for free admission!

The Five-Year Engagement
Friday, September 7, 7pm
Saturday, September 8, 9pm

Wrath of the Titans
Friday, September 7, 9:30pm
Saturday, September 8, 7pm

Men’s Soccer vs. Virginia Tech
Saturday  7:00 PM
Fetzer Field

Fiesta del Pueblo
Sunday  12 – 8 PM
Moore Square in Downtown Raleigh
Come celebrate Latino Culture and Community while enjoying popular music and artists, traditional dance performances, folk musicians, and Latino food like pupusas, paletas, churros, tortillas, tacos al carbón, empanadas  and much more.


Creating a Happy Space (An Earth Day Post)

(FYI: This is an Earth Day Post, it might not seem like it, but wait for it, it’s coming!)

I recently went through the painful process of searching for an apartment. I knew exactly what I wanted. One bedroom, good light, clean, preferably with a porch. How challenging can that really be? Pretty challenging, apparently. For some reason, apartment after apartment just didn’t feel “right.” The space didn’t make me happy. I finally found a place that vibed with me. Regretfully, I am paying a little more for it. But heck, what’s a little more for happiness?

For me, my foray into apartment hunting drove home how  important space is for my mental health. Then, through the strange maze of circuitry in my brain I began thinking beyond just my personal space, but bigger. About how the environment as a whole impacts my mental state. Living in a clean environment definitely makes me a happier, more pleasant person. Look at these two pictures. Which one do you think would help you achieve peace of mind?

 Beach A?  
Or Beach B?

 With all that trash on Beach A, I know I would MUCH rather be on Beach B. My personal take-a-way from this is: If I want to spend time on beaches like Beach B, shouldn’t I be helping to create them? All that trash on Beach A had to come from somewhere. How much am I contributing to problems like this?

To answer these questions I turned to the trusty internet! There I found all sorts of information, but one resource in particular I think is worth sharing: the Global Footprint Network’s, Footprint Calculator. The Global Footprint Network is a nonprofit organization, “established to enable a sustainable future where all people have the opportunity to live satisfying lives within the means of one planet.” Their Footprint Calculator, helps individuals to determine what exactly their “footprint” is, i.e. how much of earth’s resources are consumed during their regular day to day activity. After answering a series of questions like “How often do you eat beef?” or “How much trash do you generate?” the calculator will tell you how many earths it would take if everyone on the planet live the same as you. (Mine was embarrassingly high and I refuse to share).

Never fear though, the calculator doesn’t simply give you information and set you on your way. is the site includes tons of information about how to reduce your footprint. Something as simple as taking the bus once a week or cutting meat from your diet (Meatless Monday anyone?) is a start!

That’s why this Earth Day (see it’s there), I’m pledging to redouble my efforts to be Earth friendly and reduce my own (embarrassingly) large footprint.