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Trail Etiquette

January 8, 2021

Written by Katy Ward, Outdoor Adventure Manager

When you hit the trails, you are probably looking for some quality time in the peaceful wilderness. Chances are, you will run into someone else with the same mindset. You’ll have to share the trail, but who is supposed to step off and let the other pass? Do you just both awkwardly squeeze through a space meant for one person? Or do you both step off and do a little dance until someone quickly walks through, avoiding eye contact? Believe it or not, there is a proper way to handle this situation.

At Campus Recreation we offer programs that assist you to stay on track such as Personal Training, Group Exercise Classes, Intramural Sports, and nine facilities that are here to meet your needs and holistic well-being during your time at Liberty. So, this year, take 2021 by the reins, and seek to be your best self in all phases of life. To help with this, we are offering some great deals on all our fitness programming at LaHaye Recreation & Fitness Center, so check them out below!

Hiker v. Hiker

You’re hiking to the top, pushing for your destination and someone is coming down the trail in front of you. What do you do? Proper etiquette says that you have the right of way. Hikers headed away from the hike’s destination should move to the side, allowing upwards hikers to pass. This is because the hike up is almost always harder than the hike down. It boils down to common courtesy; if you have seen the views, allow others to get there too.

When hiking in a group, be sure to be kind. Stay in a single file line as much as possible, but especially when others are common. Keep voices low, allowing others to enjoy the sounds of nature. Avoid playing music through a loudspeaker of any kind. This can be disruptive for others and for yourself. Take your time in the woods to listen to the noises God has melded into a beautiful song.

Hiker v. Biker

Avid mountain bikers can zip around corners and down trails, which can be intimidating to a hiker. The first instinct is for the hiker to move to the side, but etiquette has the biker yielding to the hiker. Most mountain bikers will call out when they are coming quickly down a path or around a corner, to alert any possible pedestrians.

While proper etiquette says the hiker has the right of way, it is going to be easier for the hiker to move out of the way. It is important for either party to stay alert for each other, to avoid any possible accidents. If it is safer to move out of the way, forget etiquette and stay safe.

Hiker v. Horse

When you are hiking, it is probably rare to run into a horse, but it is not unlikely. If this should happen, correct etiquette allows the horse and rider to pass first, whether they are coming up or down. They are the slower party and horses can be flighty, so it is necessary to let them do their own thing. Hikers should move to the side and admire the beautiful party as they pass.

Remember to be soft and quiet when a horse approaches. You do not know what may trigger them. Stand still and under no circumstances should you reach out to pet the horse unless the rider offers first.

Be Kind. Be Courteous.

Overall, just be kind and treat others as you would like to be treated. If it seems appropriate to move out of the path, even if you have the right of way, just do it. Throw a smile and a “hello” to the passerby and continue your trek as soon as possible. Enjoy the sights and sounds that the woods have to offer.

New Year, New Fitness Opportunities

December 21, 2020

Written by Alivia Chenoweth, Marketing Manager

You’ve probably heard the saying “new year, new me” for as long as you can remember. At the beginning of every year, the pressure to set goals to be healthier, be more productive, and ultimately to seek out self-improvement in some form looms over us. What if this year we put the pressure aside and stayed true to ourselves? The busyness of life will always take priority over our fitness goals, health goals, etc. but we should strive for accountability in keeping ourselves physically and mentally healthy.

At Campus Recreation we offer programs that assist you to stay on track such as Personal Training, Group Exercise Classes, Intramural Sports, and nine facilities that are here to meet your needs and holistic well-being during your time at Liberty. So, this year, take 2021 by the reins, and seek to be your best self in all phases of life. To help with this, we are offering some great deals on all our fitness programming at LaHaye Recreation & Fitness Center, so check them out below!

Group Ex Classes

We offer over 70 Group Ex classes a semester, with a variety of free standard Group Ex classes and Group Ex Plus classes available with a Group Ex Plus Membership. Group Ex modalities include cardio, strength, mind and body, and combination classes –something for everyone. Some examples are:

  • Cycle Coach by Color
  • Barre Above
  • Cardio Hip Hop
  • Core & Glute Max Out
  • HIIT 30
  • Yoga

From January 1–February 15, all Group Ex Plus memberships will be offered at 20% off regular price. So, instead of $40 a semester, you can get access to all of our classes for just $32! This is an incredible deal that you and your friends can purchase together and make it a habit to go to classes together.

Personal Training

The team of Personal Trainers at LaHaye Rec & Fit is here to help you feel healthy and reach your fitness goals while also educating you about different types of exercises and correct form to prevent injury.

Interested, but not sure if a Personal Trainer is the best option for you? We offer FREE consultations to all students, staff, and faculty who are potentially looking to sign-up with a Personal Trainer. This is a great way to meet our team and discuss what your goals are before you sign-up.

You can choose from our available Tier 1, 2 or 3 trainers who will go over what you are wanting, create a personalized workout plan just for you based on your needs, and work with you every step of the way to achieve your goals!

As a special semester deal between Jan. 1–Feb. 15, all Tier 1 Personal. Partner, or Group Training Packages will be offered at a 10% off discount! Check out all the information you need to know here on our website.

Get to Know LaHaye Rec & Fit

Did you know that you can schedule a facility orientation request with our team? If you want to use the machines and equipment at LaHaye Rec & Fit but aren’t sure where to start or how to use them, you are able to schedule a time where a staff member will give you a “tour” of all the equipment and show the proper use of each one.

There’s no need to feel intimidated when you walk into the gym. LaHaye Rec & Fit offers a wide variety of high-grade equipment to aid you in every workout you do. Knowing how to use it correctly is even more important to prevent future injury and to achieve the best results.

From Group Ex classes to everything that our Personal Training program has to offer, we are here to help you meet your goals and to provide flexibility in your workout schedule as you see fit. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for a Group Ex class this semester or schedule a free consultation with a Personal Trainer and show 2021 who’s boss.

Learn more at Liberty.edu/CampusRec.

Campus Rec Gift Guide

December 17, 2020

Written by Alivia Chenoweth, Marketing Manager

With Christmas coming up in exactly a week, that means it is crunch time to get gifts for your friends and family. Knowing where to start can be tricky, so that’s why we’ve come up with a specialized gift guide just for you! So, no need to have a bah humbug attitude about finding gifts this year because we’ve got your back.

The Fitness Fanatic

If the first thing on your mind every day is when you’re going to workout, then you are what we call a fitness fanatic. Listed below are a few items that are perfect for your at home or in the gym workouts. 

  • Personal Training Package: Our certified Personal Trainers are the best around and are here to get you back on track. After developing a personalized plan, they are here to teach you the correct workout form and keep you motivated. These packages are offered to students, staff, and faculty at a very discounted rate and are the perfect gift for the holidays.
  • Fitness Jump Rope: This kind of jump rope isn’t for double-dutch. Incorporating jumping rope into your workout routine is extremely beneficial for your heart and bone health and is an intense form of cardio.
  • Stack 52 Bodyweight Exercise Cards: Looking to incorporate some games into your workout? These exercise cards are the perfect option to add some fun into your routine. Bring these to the gym or complete a set at home and you’re set!
  • Aquatic Pull Paddles: These paddles help develop your stroke mechanics by emphasizing your hand’s natural feel to the water. Just under $10, these are a great addition to your workout.
  • Fit Bit or Apple Watch: Of course we had to include these on the list. With such great aspects such as Apple Fitness or Fit Bit tracking your workouts, these watches are more than for telling time.
  • Rogue Bands: Perfect for resistance training, these bands help with mobility work, pull-up assistance, and bench press assistance. We highly recommend this brand as it is one that we purchase for LaHaye Rec & Fit equipment.
  • Nutribullet: A well-blended smoothie every time! This single-service blender is perfect for on the go mornings and add a healthy benefit to your daily nutrition.

The Sports Lover

For the competitive spirit when it comes to sports, we have come up with the perfect list for you. In addition, if you want to support local businesses this holiday season, a majority of these options are offered at Play It Again Sports in Forest, VA!

  • Disc golf discs: With so many Disc Golf Course options in every city, especially Lynchburg, this game is easy to learn and is great for advanced and beginner players.
  • Footballs: Perfect for tossing around in the yard, and also putting together a game with friends, footballs are always a great option for a Christmas gift.
  • Broomball shoes: This one is more specific but with Broomball being one of IMS’s most popular sports every semester, these shoes are something to look into! They help keep you stable on the ice which improves your game technique overall.
  • Spikeball Set: A classic gift option that you can never go wrong with. Spikeball can be played indoors and outdoors and is a great team game to play and learn.

The Gamer

Do you or someone you know love to play card games, video games, or bowl? Check out some of these sweet gift ideas below.

  • Basic Bowling Kit: Looking to improve your game? This less than $20 kit comes with cleaner, polish applicator and remover, and a grip ball to keep your hands dry for the best technique.
  • Montview Bowling Alley Membership: Our memberships are the perfect stocking stuffers with the choice between a monthly ($30) or semester ($60) membership. Shoe rentals are included, so what could be better than unlimited bowling? We can’t think of anything.
  • Nintendo Switch Lite: The Nintendo Switch seems to be all the hype this year and is easily transportable. Plus, do we dare mention Animal Crossing?
  • Exploding Kittens Card Game: If you’re looking for a new game night card game, this is a top choice in my opinion. Compared to a version of Russian Roulette dominated by kittens, goats, and magical enchiladas, this game may seem totally crazy, but I promise it will lead to hours of fun and competition.
  • Shock Blue Xbox Controller: A true beauty that was just released last month, this controller features updated grip, a new Share button, and is compatible with most Xbox systems.
  • Xbox Pro Controller Charging Stand: A wireless charger that provides a secure charge every time! This item is a necessity for any Xbox player.
  • Playstation 4 Controller Charging Stand: This DualShock charging station is also compatible with Nintendo Switch and Xbox X.
  • Bowling Glove: This glove is great for wrist support with a customized feel.

The Skiier or Snowboarder

Are the slopes always calling your name? These gift ideas below are a necessity for a skier or snowboarder.

  • Smith Optics Squad Goggles: If you find yourself skiing or snowboarding a lot during the winter season, these goggles are perfect so block the wind and snow when going down the slopes.
  • Sukoa Ski and Snowboard Boot Carrier Strap: This carrier strap takes away the hassle of having to juggle carrying your boots and board or skis. Just under $20, this gift comes with convenience and quality.
  • Snowflex Ski and Snowboard Lessons: Do you know someone who wants to improve their ski and snowboard skills or doesn’t know where to start learning? Snowflex offers discounted lessons offered by our knowledgeable and experienced private instructors.
  • Crab Grab: These are always a great option as most snowboarder love putting stickers on their board and these are stickers that are actually useful in providing traction for grabs or as a stomp pad!
  • Kinco Mittens: These are some of the best quality leather mittens on the market and yet they are priced at an incredibly affordable rate. This is a lot of our Snowflex employee’s personal go to mitt in the colder parts of the year!

The Outdoor Enthusiast

Does the idea of camping and spending the night out under the stars peak your interest? Or spending your afternoon out on the lake or hiking a mountain? Then you are the outdoor enthusiast! These gift ideas below are right up your alley.

  • Eno Hammock: This gift is a must this season. With single or double nest options available, Enos can be taken anywhere on campus and at Eno Haven at Hydaway. These hammocks are perfect for relaxing in, camping, or spending time with your friends outdoors.
  • LifeStraw: This incredible invention allows you to drink water from any source. Find yourself on a hike and ran out of water? Grab your LifeStraw and find a river or creek and you’re set.
  • Spot 350 Headlamp: A compact and waterproof headlamp that is perfect for camping, caving, and hiking!
  • Lifeproof Fre Phonecase: A slim version of the Lifeproof cases that is made out of 60% recycled plastic and is completely waterproof.
  • Smartwool Socks: Take this Sock Finder quiz to find your perfect pair!

The Gun Range Neophyte

Since Liberty has its own gun range, do you know someone who has just recently started shooting? Has someone you know taken a class at the range and seems interested doing more? Anyone on your Christmas list that has recently purchased a new firearm? Then we have suggestions for you to help the new shooter with a day at the range!

  • Shooting Safety Glasses: Eye-protection is required at nearly every gun range, and definitely required at LMGC. These glasses run about $17 and allow you to change lenses to suit the lighting. And Walker’s are a favorite of most of the staff at LMGC!
  • Hearing protection Ear-Plugs: Another necessity for any gun range or shooting enthusiast is hearing protection. These very flexible and comfortable ear plugs will protect your hearing and are the same ear plugs provided to the Liberty Action Shooting Team. At around $18, it’s worth every penny for the protection they offer.
  • Range Bag: Is the shooter in your life always trying to find a way to organize their trip to the range? If so, a high-quality range bag will help them keep up with their guns, ammunition, eye protection, ear protection, water bottle, etc. This bag is only $31 and well made for the money.

The Horse Enthusiast

Do you find yourself always around horses or wanting to go on trail rides often? If you have friends or family that are horse lovers or interested in learning how to ride, these gifts are spot on.

  • LMEC Riding Lessons: Riding lessons are only offered for Liberty Residential students! Group lessons are only $25 and private lessons are only $40. Our knowledgeable and experienced instructors are here to teach you the basics and techniques to either Western or Hunt Seat riding! So if you know a student who would be interested, check this out!
  • TuffRider Starter Paddock Riding Boots: Having the correct foot protection when you ride is important. There’s no need to risk the safety of your feet when you can get these paddock boots for less than $35!
  • Smoky Mountain Boonville Boots: Western boots are also very popular around the barn.  They keep your feet safe and can handle all types of surfaces you may encounter around horses.
  • 3 Season’s Glove: Riding gloves will keep your hands warm this winter!  Especially tailored for the horsemanship these affordable gloves make a great gift!

The Skater

For you, a skateboard is your 1st choice of transportation. This season, asking for a new board, trucks, or gear are some great options to find under the tree. 

  • Skateboard Deck: Choose from a variety of cool decks on Tactics website!
  • Skateboard Trucks: Having good trucks is what will help your skateboard ride its best. These options on Tactics website give you a bunch to choose from.

The Brand Rep

Did you know we have a pro shop? With options from LaHaye long sleeves and crewnecks to resistance bands to Snowflex gear to Hydaway mugs, there are so many ways that you can rep Campus Rec! Check out our pro shop here and get shopping!

DIY Camping – George Washington National Forest

December 10, 2020

Written by Eljiah Stanley, Outdoor Adventure Manager

Greetings from Campus Recreation! Fall is upon us and that makes for perfect camping weather and beautiful mountain scenery. If you are looking for a quick getaway that will take you into rugged and beautiful forests, look no further than the George Washington National Forest.  This protected forest is only forty minutes from Liberty’s campus and is a camping and adventure paradise.

George Washington National Forest

George Washington National Forest holds a plethora of welcoming riverside campsites that are large enough to host you and your most adventurous friends. Hunting Creek Road in Big Island, Virginia is the best access to plenty of free, first-come, first-serve campsites that are neighbored by a gorgeous trout-filled river. Any vehicle can easily make the trip up the gravel road to the campsites, making it easy to unload and set up tents or any other camping gear. These camping areas are best suited for tent camping and most include a small fire pit.

Freeze-Dried Dinner

After you’ve set up camp, and you have started a fire, it is the perfect time to start dinner. Freeze-dried Mountain House meals are tasty, lightweight, and packable entrees made just for camping. We have been using them on our trips this semester, and we have really enjoyed them. My personal favorite is the chicken & fried rice entrée. They are so easy to use — all you need is some boiling water! Simply bring two cups of water to a boil, pour the water into the meal container, stir, and wait for five minutes. Then, your delicious fireside meal is ready to enjoy! Mountain House meals are ideal for any outdoor adventure and offer a variety of options for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The most ideal way to heat water for your Mountain House meal, your coffee, or tea is the Jetboil personal cook system.

The Jetboil is a safe, easy-to-use system that is made to boil up to one liter of water in a surprisingly short amount of time. Just screw in a propane source to the bottom and press the ignition. Within minutes you will have boiling water to make your ideal fireside meal. Jetboils are lightweight and efficient, making them a practical piece of gear that every camping enthusiast should look to acquire. But, if you aren’t quite ready to buy your own, we have some available to rent at the Hydaway Outdoor Center!

Campsite Fishing

Now that dinner is taken care of, what’s next? Perhaps you and your friends would be interested in wetting a line in the clear, trout-filled water of Hunting Creek. If you have a fishing rod, you’ll definitely want to add it to the packing list. Merely feet away from your campsite is a premier brook trout fishery. Fishing this stream makes for a fun after-dinner excursion.

As you wrap up your evening, take a moment to stargaze the immaculate view from the George Washington National Forest. Fall nights in the Blue Ridge mountains can be frigid, so always remember to prepare your gear accordingly. A down sleeping bag with a low-temperature rating is the ticket to staying warm when camping in the mountains. Also, remember to pack lots of layers as the fall weather in Virginia can change rapidly. With the proper gear, clothing, and the best of friends, you will be ready to enjoy a secluded weekend of fireside chats and gorgeous scenery. As we near final exams, a weekend getaway will be the remedy to your academic induced stress!

Take a Deep Breath for Longevity

December 4, 2020

Written by Heather Callahan, Associate Director of Fitness & Programming

Take a moment and set a timer for one minute. Make a tally of how many breaths you take during that minute. Try not to change or think too much about the span of the breath, try to breathe as comfortably as possible.

It is likely that you took about 12-20 breaths during that minute – which is the average for a human being. Now let’s look at a tortoise – they take an average of four breaths per minute. Comparing life spans, tortoises live an average of 98 years longer than human beings.

So, does breathing have something to do with longevity? Health research concludes this as a yes – good breathing practices are positively correlated to decreased mortality risk. Here’s why.

Breathwork Induces Stress Resilience

What is stress resilience? This is your body’s natural reaction to stressors in your environment. Having a good resilience to stress is a very good thing. Breathing practices bring you quickly to the present moment, which helps to reduce stress, symptoms of anxiety, depression and PTSD.

There are two important components of your autonomic nervous system:

Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) – “Fight or Flight”

Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSNS) – “Rest and Digest”

If you are familiar with these terms, you may have heard that good breathing practices help stimulate the PSNS, which is good for all your normal bodily functions.

When you have stress resilience from a good breathwork practice, you achieve sympathovagal balance, enhancing your body’s reactivity to all environmental (physical and mental) stressors, so you can more appropriately activate your SNS and PSNS nervous systems. It’s all about balance.

Easy Breathwork Practices to Start

The current global landscape is stress and anxiety-inducing already. Wearing a mask for prolonged periods of time may limit the depth of breath you can take and the amount of oxygen taken in during that breath, which will stimulate the sympathetic nervous system and increase the heart rate.

Because wearing a mask is currently something we are required to do, whether during work or grocery shopping, or in enclosed spaces, it is important to have good breathing habits whenever you are not wearing it to maintain good health.

Important note: breathwork practices should never cause stress and anxiety, so if you are experiencing that during any breathwork, come back to a comfortable, steady breath. It can be a good habit to take a few normal breaths between rounds of your breath practices.

Breathing Exercises to Try

Deep Abdominal Breath

This breath can be done anytime you need to slow down and relax. When we take a deep abdominal breath, it encourages the use of our diaphragm (primary muscle of relaxed breathing).

How to do it:

You can lay on your back or sit tall in your chair with your eyes open or closed, softly. Relax your jaw and tongue away from the roof of the mouth. Take an inhale and let the belly expand outwards, sending your breath down. On your exhale through your nose, slowly draw the belly button towards your spine. Elongate the breath to your comfort level. Repeat for 1-2 minutes.

4-7-8 Breath

 This technique can be done to alleviate stress and anxiety, and learning how to breath more slowly with control. Only practice this if you feel comfortable holding your inhale for 7 seconds.

How to do it:

Lay down or sit tall in your chair with your eyes closed or open, softly. Relax your jaw and tongue away from the roof of the mouth. Inhale for 4 seconds (counts), holding the breath in for 7 counts. Slowly exhale for 8 counts out of your mouth. Repeat for 1-2 minutes, longer if desired.


The One Where We’re Thankful For 2020

November 20, 2020

Written by Ashley Romero, Marketing Intern

We all started this year with words that we hoped would reflect the season ahead. Words that most likely did not end up describing the year that we would call 2020. As the holiday season comes closer and the leaves begin to fall, it is all too easy to look ahead to the new year and dream of leaving these crazy times in the past. But, what if we rested in the present? What if we shifted our perspective to be grateful for what this year has brought? With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we have a day carved-out in the year to reflect on the things we can be thankful for. An opportunity to leave this year with gratitude for what it was and not disappointment for what we think it should’ve been.

So, What Does Thankfulness Look Like?

For all you Friends lovers out there, you know that the first Thanksgiving of the show was one that was spent in a way that no one hoped for. Rachel hoped to go out of town, Joey and Phoebe hoped to go see their families, Chandler hated Thanksgiving due to his parents’ divorce, and Monica wanted a pristine meal. None of the friends got what they wanted, but after some thought they realized that everything they needed was right around them and they had plenty of reason to be grateful. As we go into Thanksgiving this year, I encourage you to reflect the spirit of these friends. As Rachel Green would say, “It’s Thanksgiving and we should not want to be together, together.”

So, What Can You Do to Make This a Great Thanksgiving?

Let’s take a look into some of the best Friends’ Thanksgivings.

  • Thanksgiving is not complete without Rachel’s Thanksgiving Trifle (Season 6, Episode 9)
  • Make different types of potatoes for everyone (Season 1, Episode 9)
  • Play a healthy game of football in pursuit of the “Geller Cup” (Season 3, Episode 9)
  • Never, ever, for any reason, put a turkey on your head to scare your friends (Season 1, Episode 9)

Most importantly, when preparing for your Thanksgiving meal, always remember “You can’t have Thanksgiving without turkey… That’s like Fourth of July without apple pie, or Friday with no two pizzas.”

More Than Food

Thanksgiving is a holiday we look forward to for a number of reasons but if we’re being honest, the food is most certainly the highlight. As a foodie myself, I plan the meal long before the day ever arrives. Turkey, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, the list goes on and on! But in all seriousness, the day is meant for so much more than eating until we can no longer fit into our clothes. Thanksgiving is about who you’re eating with, the recognition that the food alone is a blessing, that each day is not guaranteed, and that we are lucky to spend another day in the presence of those who love us.

Turn on the Christmas Music and Get in the Holiday Spirit

All in all, Thanksgiving is a time for families to gather and stomachs to be full! The year is coming to a close and the best thing to do is reflect on it with gratitude. So, what will you say when they ask you what it is your thankful for this year?

10 Practical Self-Care Ideas

November 13, 2020

Written by Tanner Hoffarth, Former Marketing Employee

Self-Care isn’t always easy and often can be something many put on the side burner. This list of 10 practical self-care ideas is a great way to get your foot in the door and begin to change course as we head into a busy season of the semester. Each idea listed below requires little time/effort but a lot of discipline. Let’s get started.


The first of many, and possibly the most important is sleep. With all of our crazy lifestyles, it seems that we “don’t have time for sleep”. By sleeping we are able to reset our bodies, regain our energy, retain memories better, and reduces stress.

Gut Health

Focusing on your gut is your next task. This can be done in multiple ways, but one of the best ways is staying hydrated and drinking a lot more water than you are right now. Doing this will boost skin health and beauty, flush toxins more quickly, and help maintain body temperature and blood pressure.


Learning about self-care is just as important as participating in it. With a better understanding of what to do, why you do it, and how to do it will boost the benefits through the roof.

Nature Walk

Taking a nature walk/run has been my number one thing to do during the pandemic and is also a very beneficial idea for self-care. Not only are you exercising, but you are also getting some much-needed vitamin D.

House Plants

Buy some house plants. House plants provide many different benefits from removing odors from the air, to providing oxygen, and adding a pop of color to your space.

Skin Care Routine

Create a skincare routine, wash your face daily, moisturize, and most of all where sunscreen. Trust me, you will still get tan.


Practice yoga. Yoga helps to restore not only the body but in a similar fashion the mind. Yoga is a great way to relieve stress promote sleep quality and improves heart health. The Group Ex Plus membership at LaHaye is the perfect way to get started with your yoga routine!

Find Your Hobby or Recover a Lost One

Did you grow up playing piano and haven’t touched one since moving to college? How about reading one book a month? Recovering a lost hobby or finding a new one encourages giving your brain a break from the life circumstances that are stressing you out. This also gives you something fun, with no goal to achieve or deadline, to look forward to throughout your week.

Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

I know what you’re thinking, you’d rather skip right over this point. But, hear me out. Caffeine has a number of benefits but also proves to be just as harmful. Being able to consume caffeine in a realistic manner and at good times of the day can help save you from most of its harmful effects. Scientific studies have shown that caffeine can help prevent many forms of cancer, improve memory, and the most commonly help with alertness and weight loss. However, living caffeine-free or even reducing your intake of caffeine can reduce anxiety, heart rate, and insomnia — leading to better sleep, greater focus, and better heart health.


The last and one of the most over-looked self-care practices is journaling. Creating a journal improves memory like many of the other self-care ideas. Journaling also serves as a great form of meditation, benefits creative expression, and helps set goals and track progress.

Self-care, in many ways, is another term for self-recognition. Through these exercises and ideas, you continue to learn more about yourself, through your emotions, health, and even down to your motivations and fears. Self-care isn’t selfish. It is taking care of your heart, mind, soul, and body so that you can better benefit those around you.


Exploring Blue Ridge

November 6, 2020

Written by Carter Brackman, Hydaway Outdoor Center Manager

It seems like we are all pressed for time these days. We all need time where we get away from the normal schedule of each day and refresh. What is the best way to do this? How about taking a free Saturday and going on a nice day hike? With the fall weather setting in it is the perfect time to explore the outdoors! If this sounds like something you would be interested in then Virginia’s got you. This post recommends that you wake up early one day and explore two of Virginia’s most beautiful and underrated hikes.

First Things First

Hike with a Group
When exploring new places it is always a good idea to bring along some friends. There is something about being in nature that just brings people together. It also helps ensure your safety as you travel and hike. Also, make sure to tell someone outside of your group of your location and estimated hike time to just cover all your bases.

Comfort and Protection
You want the hiking experience to be as fun as possible. Comfort level is a large contributor to this. Some of the following items could be packed: snacks (trail mix, bananas, granola bars), sunscreen, mini first-aid kit, rain jacket, bug spray, water, and a backpack to store it all in!


It can be difficult to find the trailheads of certain trails. We recommend using resources such The Outbound or AllTrails to learn about the difficulty, length, and location of the trail. You should also take into consideration the time it will take for the hike and the weather. And always stay on the designated trail!

Recommendation #1 – Mount Pleasant

The first stop that you have to make is Mount Pleasant. Mount Pleasant is located in Vesuvius, VA. This is a great hike for beginners who desire a longer distance hike (roughly 5 miles round trip). Most Lynchburg locals have heard of Cole Mountain right? Well, Mount Pleasant is the sister mountain of Cole Mountain. The Mount Pleasant trailhead is within a half mile of the Cole Mountain trailhead, which are both located off of Wiggins Spring Rd in Vesuvius, VA. At the summit there are two lookouts: one east facing and one west facing. Cole Mountain can be seen from this summit. The Mount Pleasant Scenic Area is part of the George Washington National Forest and does not require any passes or permits for entrance or hiking so enjoy the hike!

Recommendation #2 – Spy Rock

Spy Rock is located in Montebello, VA. The views from this hike are unbelievable. This hike is also located in the George Washington National Forest. This is a shorter hike (roughly 2 miles round trip) which provides a 360 degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Spy Rock is a great location for camping as well. The Spy Rock Trailhead is located near the Montebello Fish Hatchery which provides hikers with a small parking area. Look for signs that point out the Appalachian Trail and take a left. This trail will take you over to Spy Rock.

Hopefully after reading this you feel better prepared and more excited for a hiking trip in Virginia. Remember that the best trips start with great planning. Be safe!

Conditioning Ideas for Intramural Outdoor Soccer

October 30, 2020

Written by Hayley Swenski, Intramural Sports Outdoor Soccer Supervisor

When training for soccer, it is vital for players to build up their strength and endurance to not only excel on the field, but also to help prevent injury. Staying hydrated, eating smart foods and being well rested are also key factors in increasing performance on the field and aiding in recovery between workouts. Remember to always include a proper warm-up and cool-down in each of your workouts, and don’t be afraid to listen to your body. If you feel too sore, tired, or have a possible injury, it is okay to take time to let your body rest and recover before starting another workout. However, it is still important to push yourself while you are completing your workout. The only way to get better is to work hard and push your body past what you think you can do. Your fitness and skills will develop over time, so be consistent and you will see results faster than you may think!

When developing your training, be sure to include strength training, endurance training, and interval training for optimal results. Here are three different workouts that you can complete in a week to develop all around strength and conditioning to improve your soccer abilities.

Strength Training

Complete 4 rounds with a 1-minute rest between rounds.

  • 12 push-ups
  • 20 total walking lunges
  • 15 burpees
  • 20 bodyweight squats
  • 20 crunches
  • 10-yard sprint

Interval Training

  • 2 mile run under 13 minutes – rest 3 minutes
  • 6 shuttle sprints at 5, 10, 15, and 20 yards – rest 1 minute between shuttles
  • ½ mile run under 3 ½ minutes

Endurance Training

Complete 4 rounds one way, then 4 rounds the other way.

  • Sprint 20 yards
  • Shuffle left 20 yards
  • Back petal 20 yards
  • Shuffle right 20 yards

Overall, remember to just have fun. If you aren’t enjoying your training, try new workouts and exercises to keep yourself motivated and excited to workout. Grab a friend, a soccer ball, and some open space and get to work!


Outdoor Gear Review: Kammok Mantis UL

October 23, 2020

Written by Luke Whitmire, Hydaway Outdoor Center Manager

Camping is a wonderful way to spend an extended period of time in the outdoors. It provides a way to connect with nature by unplugging from our daily lives and intentionally spending time sacrificing the comfort of our homes in favor of being outside. One of the best ways to enjoy this time is to utilize a hammock tent setup rather than a traditional tent. The hammock tent provides several comforts and conveniences that set it far ahead of the traditional tent.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Hammock Tent

There are several advantages that hammock tents provide. First, the hammock provides a comfortable escape from the ground filled with rocks and roots. This allows for camping in many different locations or on hills that would be impossible for tent camping. Hammocks can provide a safe haven above waterlogged campsites and critters. Additionally, most hammock tents provide a lightweight alternative to tent camping. Although high-end minimalistic tents can provide a light shelter, the average hammock tent offers more comfort at a lower weight and often with a lower price point. The hammock eliminates the need for any sleeping pad, eliminating more gear and weight from your pack. The convenience of these advantages provides many reasons why hammock camping might be the right switch for an avid camper.

Although I am a strong proponent of the hammock tent, it does not work for everyone. Despite the comfortable setup, it does not provide as much ability for socialization. In rainy weather, it forces everyone back into their individual hammocks rather than fellowship in a shared tent. In addition, a tent allows for easy storage of extra gear and equipment away from the elements. A hammock tent can provide this, but extra clips, rope, or a gear hammock is often required to suspend gear above the ground under the shelter of the rain fly. This might detract some from making the switch.

Overall, I would recommend everyone to make the switch. Although it may not be worth it the purchase for short car camping trips, it is the obvious choice for any extended stay in the outdoors, especially for backpacking trips or where space or weight capacity is in short supply. If you are looking to switch up the way you experience camping, a hammock tent will change the way you see camping.

Kammok Mantis Ultralight Review

On a whim, I purchased a Kammok Mantis Ultralight hammock tent. At a price of $259, this kit offers a hammock, sewed in bug net, rain fly, and a set of ultralight straps. This offers an all in one package that comes in just below 32 ounces (or 19 ounces without the rainfly), making it ideal for anything from a weekend car camping trip to a week-long backpacking trip. The material is light, durable, and comfortable. It is made with a ripstop fabric that helps to prevent damage to the material. Initially, I was very impressed with the size of the tent. Everything, including the hammock, straps, bug net, rain fly, stakes, and guy chords, packs down into a pouch only slightly bigger than the average water bottle. The setup is very easy and intuitive, making an easy and quick set up and tear down. I have used it around six times and have been very pleased with its performance on each trip! It has yet to fail me and provides an excellent combination of convenience and comfort in the outdoors.

Although this set up might be towards the high end of your price range, there are many cheaper alternatives that will provide a comfortable hammock tent set up. There are many alternatives that each have different advantages and disadvantages. Check out these resources for additional information: Beyond the Tent | REI | Clever Hiker