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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!

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?

5 Ways to Improve Sleep

October 16, 2020

Written by Victoria Dissmore, Marketing Employee

Getting a good night’s sleep is an integral part of your overall health and wellbeing, especially as a student. You need that sleep to be able to focus in class and do your homework well. If you’re having trouble sleeping or want to get better, deeper sleep, check out these five tips for improving your sleep quality.

Dim Your Lights

Having lights on around you at night will delay your melatonin production, telling your body that it’s not time to sleep and making it harder to fall asleep at bedtime. Instead of turning all your lights on at full brightness, dim them if they have a dimmer switch or unscrew a couple of lightbulbs if it’s a multi-bulb light. Also consider completely turning off overhead lights and switching on a lamp that’s not as bright.

You can also light a few candles or hang string lights to set the mood in the evening so by bedtime you’re ready to fall asleep.

One more thing to note is that darkness is crucial for a good night’s sleep, so try to shut out as much light as possible. Blackout curtains might be a good investment if it’s bright outside your bedroom windows and be sure to close your bedroom door if there’s light out in your living area.

Stay Off Screens

You can dim your lights all you want but if you’re still looking at your bright, blue-light producing screens up until bedtime, you won’t be ready to fall asleep because your brain will still be wide awake. Try staying off your phone, tablet, and computer at least 90 minutes before bed.

If you must look at your screen devices, try turning on a yellow-orange filter like night shift mode for Apple products, and wear blue-light blocking glasses to prevent exposing your eyes to the harmful light.

Instead of watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram before bed, try doing non-screen activities like…

  • Journaling
  • Doing a jigsaw puzzle
  • Stretching
  • Drawing or painting
  • Coloring in a coloring book
  • Doing a crossword puzzle
  • Listening to a podcast
  • Reading a traditional paper book, like your Bible!

Have a Consistent Bedtime

Studies suggest that in order to get the best sleep, you need to go to sleep at the same time every night. This will get your body into a rhythm so you can fall asleep better and wake up more refreshed. Similarly, it’s also important to wake up at the same time every morning so your body gets used to waking up at that time.

Avoid Certain Foods

The foods you eat before bed actually have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep, so here are some foods to avoid and why:

  • Protein: protein takes a lot of energy to digest, and one of the amino acids in protein promotes brain activity which will keep you up into the night
  • Dairy: avoid eating that late-night ice cream snack because the high fat content triggers a higher acid production in your stomach, leading to acid reflux or heartburn
  • Celery: yes, celery is a healthy vegetable, but avoid this food before bed unless you want to get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night
  • Spicy food: these will get your blood pumping and raise your body temperature, neither of which are conducive to a good night’s sleep

Eat Certain Foods

If you are still hungry after dinner but before bedtime, try eating these types of foods instead:

  • Protein + carbs: protein by itself might not be the best nighttime snack, but protein coupled with carbs, like almond butter with apple slices, will help stabilize your blood sugar levels for better sleep through the night
  • Bananas: these yellow fruits contain lots of magnesium which is known to be relaxing for muscles and nerves
  • Honey: just one teaspoon of honey before bed can stimulate melatonin production and shut off orexin, the hormone that makes you alert
  • Oats: grab a bowl of oatmeal or granola for a bedtime snack rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, which encourages insulin and melatonin production

Give a few of these tips a try and you will notice your sleep quality improve!


Summer Reading

June 8, 2018

Written by: Mike Ellsworth

Life as a student can be tough and reading through textbooks, discussion posts and countless lecture slides all year long can become draining.  It sucks the joy right from reading.  Which is sad, right?!  But, summer is the time to break that idea and read a book…for fun!  Usually this is the season for “pleasure reading”.  But, that can hard to initiate.

Well, how about we help you out.  Are you looking for something with a flair of adventure and outdoor-minded to read this summer?  I love going through long extensive reading lists and picking out a great selection to dig through in those few short months.  But, scrolling through those long lists can be intimidating and we want you to be successful.  So, here are just a few books to choose from.  Hopefully, there are some titles that you’ve never heard of and that sound interesting or exciting.  So, pick one.  Just one to tackle this summer.  Let us know how it goes!

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Alright, so this one you have probably heard about.  But, this is one of my favorite books of all time.  It is the tale of a young wanderer who takes to the sea in pursuit of adventure.  The majority of the story, as we all may know, focuses on the struggle of Robinson Crusoe after being shipwrecked on an isolated island.  Crusoe labors to grow crops, find food, build shelter and protect himself from constant dangers of the island.  Though, cut off from humanity, Crusoe finds God and is comforted in his faith in a way that can encourage any modern Christian.  He finds a peace, despite his depressing situation, which surpasses all understanding.  Away from the comforts of his time, he finds comfort in God and is driven to a spirit of thankfulness and appreciation for Divine Grace.  It is a great story that ultimately points to the nature of Providence in the Christian heart.

Hoosh: Roast Penguin, Scurvy Day and Other Stories of Antarctic Cuisine by Jason C. Anthony
This book is one of the most interesting books on food you will find out there.  Jason Anthony takes a historical look at Antarctic cuisine.  He discusses classic Antarctic adventurers and how they relied on the lousy, rotten rations and various unlikely animals for nourishment.  Be warned, that it is not for the weak stomach, as he discusses that survival often depended on the slaughter of penguin, seal, sled dog, or even pony.  He tracks these historical tales to his modern experiences at Antarctic science stations.  He spent over 8 seasons in Antarctica and shares his stories of food, company and how it all comes together at one of Earth’s final frontiers, the South Pole.

A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans
Are you looking for a nice, feel good story of dog and man?  Well, look no further than Nick Jans’s true story of an Alaskan wolf, who returned again and again to the city of Juneau.  Living on the outskirts of what appeared to be “Romeo the wolf’s” territory, Nick enjoyed a unique relationship with this animal.  His story is one that invokes respect for nature and what is left of the wild of the world.  Nick discusses history and biology of the Alaskan Wolf and how it has led to the modern struggle between wolf and man.  He also discusses the political climate of Alaska and how America’s great frontier is always in a struggle between conservation and inadvertent neglect.  Though he discusses all these in depth, the main tale is of a special bond between wild animal and an understanding individual.  It is a remarkable tale for any animal lover.

Shackleton’s Way by Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell
This leadership handbook is a must-read for those interested in leading or managing people.  Morrell and Capparell, two veterans of business and leadership, took the classic tale of Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance expedition and used it to create a modern summary of management “How-to’s”.  They include historical application of Shackleton’s life and habits to create lasting principals.  If the heroic adventurer were to write a book today on how to lead, I believe it would look very similar to this one.  This unique blend of biography, history and experience tested advice is a great one to prepare to lead other men and women in any capacity.

Grand Adventures by Alastair Humphreys
I’ll be honest, this book is on my summer reading list.  I haven’t read it yet, but it comes highly recommended.  Alastair Humpreys is a professional adventurer.  He has cycled, rowed, walked, climbed all over the world and was the 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and patented the term “Microadventures” in his 2015 book.  Grand Adventures takes the time to discuss all the things that keep us from the adventures we hope to have.  It can be difficult to overcome planning hurdles, time or money before embarking on grand adventures.   Humphreys shares stories of people who have had once in a lifetime experiences and discusses how each of us can overcome the commitments or hurdles that keep us from exploring the world around us.  I hope to use this book to bring enthusiasm and curiosity to my trips and take me somewhere new.  Maybe this book will help you take that mind-blowing summer road trip that you have always planned.

There’s 5 books for you to choose from.  Pick the one that interests you the most, get yourself a copy, hang that hammock up at your favorite campsite and do some summer reading!