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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Your Guide to Alcohol and the Law

Getting an alcohol citation can be expensive, embarrassing, and very frustrating.   Many students can minimize their risk of getting a drinking ticket by becoming informed.   So, before you make any decisions about purchasing or drinking alcohol, make sure you know the law; know the consequences; and know your rights.

Know the Law:  

It is ILLEGAL to….

  • Purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol if you are under 21.  This includes attempting to order a drink at a bar or purchasing beer at a grocery store
  • Possess alcohol if you are under 21.  This includes alcohol found in your vehicle or in your hands as you walk down the street, even if it is unopened.   An underage person suspected to be under the influence of alcohol (smells like alcohol, holding an empty Solocup that smells like alcohol, visibly intoxicated, etc) can be charged with underage possession.
  • Use a Fake ID to purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol or to enter an over 21 drinking establishment.  Using a Fake ID to get into a bar can still result in a citation even if no alcoholic drinks are purchased or consumed.
  • Purchase alcohol for an underage friend.
  • Drink and Drive.  If you are 21 and over, this means having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08. It is also illegal to consume alcohol while driving or to have any alcohol in your system when there is an unsealed alcohol container in the passenger seat.   If you are under 21, you can get a DUI for having any alcohol in your system.
  • Possess an open container of alcohol in any publicly owned area, such as streets, sidewalks, municipal parking lots, public parks, playgrounds, recreational fields, tennis courts, athletic fields, and in any buildings owned by the town.  This law applies to people 21 and over.  If you are under 21, you will be charged with underage possession.  

Know the consequences

Typical consequences for the above offenses include a misdemeanor charge, fines, and court costs.  Additionally, many students are required to complete an 6-week alcohol education class as well as a 1-on-1 alcohol assessment.  A DUI results in a 1-year revocation of your Driver’s License for the first offense.  Depending on the situation, a student may also face imprisonment.   UNC Dean of Students has their own set of consequences for students that may include academic and/or housing probation.

Know your rights

If you are stopped by the police, here’s some helpful advice from UNC Legal Services…..

  1. You are not required to answer questions. You can choose to remain silent. Think “UNC”: “Uh, No Comment.”
  2. If police request to search your person or belongings, and you do not wish to be searched, you may say, “I do not consent to a search.”
  3. If the officer proceeds to search you or your belongings, such as your wallet, backpack, or car, do not resist.  If you do not consent to the search, simply say, “I do not consent to a search.” (If the search is unlawful, it can be suppressed in court.)
  4. If an officer asks for your identification, do not present a fake ID.  If you present proper identification and an officer asks to see your wallet to check if you have a fake ID, you can refuse.  After refusing, you may then ask, “Officer, am I free to go?”
  5. You are not required to submit to a breathalyzer unless you are driving a car.  If you are a passenger in a vehicle, you may refuse a breathalyzer without legal consequences unless you are underage and visibly intoxicated.  If you are approached on the street (e.g. walking home or outside a party), you may refuse a breathalyzer without legal consequences.  After refusing, you may then ask, “Officer, am I free to go?”
  6. NEVER physically resist a police officer.  Simply remain silent and remain calm.
  7. If you are arrested, state clearly for the officer, “I am going to remain silent.” Then remain silent.

Some additional things to keep in mind if you are stopped while driving….

  1. YOU MUST display your driver’s license upon an officer’s request.
  2. YOU MUST write your name (for the purpose of identification) upon an officer’s request and provide your name and address (and the name and address of the auto’s owner).
  3. If the officer pulls you over while driving, you must submit to a breathalyzer test or your license will be revoked. You do have the right to contact an attorney for advice.
  4. You may be asked to perform dexterity tests, but you are not required to do so.  There are no formal legal penalties for refusing to do so.

For more information:

UNC Legal Services

Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE),000005,000272,000274

Smart Ways to Keep Tabs on Drinking

Happy Monday Morning! How did you spend your weekend? Did you participate in any of our Healthy Heels recommendations? If you were out drinking, do you remember how many drinks you had? Do you know what your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was?

Keeping an eye on how many drinks you have can help you manage your budget and help you make sure you are keeping your BAC at manageable levels. Keeping your BAC below certain levels can help you avoid the nastier side of drinking – the hangovers, the missed classes, and days spent recovering when you should be studying – while still allowing you to go out, have fun, and enjoy drinks with friends.

With this approach in mind, here are some online tools and phone apps we’ve found that could be useful to someone who wants to take the first steps towards monitoring their drinking on-the-go. If you know of another good way you keep track of how many drinks you’ve had in a night, feel free to share in the comment section!

For starters, there is a very cool iPhone app called DrinkTracker available in the App Store for $1.99. It uses an algorithm to calculate your real-time BAC as you are drinking, taking into account how quickly your body processes the alcohol based on your weight, height, gender, and how long you have been drinking. It’s also has some cool integration with Google maps to help you find the next bar or get home safely by contacting a local taxi service, or even emailing a friend your location. Click here to check it out.

For Android users, we recommend the free AlcoDroid app.  Like DrinkTracker, AlcoDroid uses sex, weight, and type of drink to give you a current BAC estimate. In addition, AlcoDroid plots your BAC over time, giving you an idea of when you’ll be below the legal driving limit or back to zero.  It can also track the cost of your drinks and graphically chart your daily, weekly, and monthly alcohol consumption statistics. Click here to learn more about Alcodroid and its many features.

While these apps are great tools for monitoring your drinking, we want to remind everyone that any information provided should be taken with a grain of salt.  They can’t take into account other things that affect BAC levels, such as whether you have eaten a balanced meal beforehand, or things that are specific to you, such as genetic factors.  It’s very important to stay within your comfort zone.  If you normally wouldn’t drive after having 4 beers in 2 hours, don’t change things up just because DrinkTracker says you’re good to go.  These apps are meant to keep you informed, not to push your limits.

For more information on drink tracking and other cool apps, check-out this page.

The “Yes-Damn” Effect

It’s a New Year!  A new semester!  The crisp white pages of your 2012 planner lay open to a world of possibilities.  Your Google calendar is filled with vast swaths of free time.  Are you free next Wednesday to volunteer for your sorority’s social?  Of course!  Wanna help your friend distribute flyers for a project next month?  Sure!  Some people are going to a hockey game in Raleigh this weekend—you in?  YES!

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Long Runs, Short Runs, and Pie: Healthy Heels Weekend

Our awesome Laura Greenhow is running the Outer Banks half marathon this weekend, and lots of the Healthy Heels staff will be there to cheer her on.   If you’re also headed out for a 13.1 or 26.2 mile run by the beach, have fun!  For the rest of us, here’s what’s happening on the home front:

Top Picks

31st Annual Turkey Trot 5K
Chase turkeys. Win a turkey.
Saturday at 10 AM
Start at Rams Head Plaza

Farmers’ Market Pie Cookoff
Saturday, 8AM – 12 PM
University Mall

Eating Animals by The Performance Collective
By the UNC Communications Department
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights
Great Hall @ The Union

International Friends Thanksgiving Dinner
International students, sign up at
Friday at 6:30 pm
Michael Hooker Building

We’ll also be checking out…

Ackland Film Festival at the Varsity on Thursday night * Iraqi and Sufi Music Concert at the FedEx Global Center on Friday night * Guys and Dolls all weekend at ArtsCenter in Carrboro * Anarchist Bookfair in Carrboro on Saturday * Women’s Basketball vs. Gardner-Webb on Saturday afternoon

Have you heard about Late Night Carolina?

Late Night Carolina is a program that grants funding to UNC recognized entities (student organizations, residence hall floors, student groups) that are sponsoring late night social activities at UNC.  Our goal is to encourage healthy social lives by increasing the number and quality of late night activities and events for students.

Late Night Carolina is supported by Counseling & Wellness Services and the Office of the Dean of Students.

To qualify for LNC funding, you must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • All sections of the application must be answered completely.
  • The application must be submitted 4 weeks prior to your event date.
  • Your event must be free to all participants. The event must be specifically targeted to UNC-CH students and accessible for all UNC-CH students.
  • Groups may conduct fund-raising activities in relation to the event (e.g., sell t-shirts), but the primary purpose of the event should not be fund-raising in nature.
  • The event must be sponsored by at least 2 UNC-Chapel Hill officially recognized student entities.
  • The majority of the event must occur between 9:00 PM – 2:00 AM on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night.  We also fund events that fall on a holiday or special occasion (e.g. Halloween, last day of classes).
  • Your event must abide by all university policies.
  • No alcohol is allowed at Late Night Carolina events.
  • You must complete a brief follow-up report after the event.



Apply today at