Having a fun and responsible 21st birthday. It’s a thing.

By: Gabriella Villacis Davies, University of Maryland Health Center Peer Educator

Happy_Birthday!I recently had the pleasure of celebrating my 21st birthday. In our society, many consider it a milestone or a rite of passage. Finally, I can be as reckless as I want and no one can stop me, right?

Not quite.

Being able to legally drink is a big responsibility, and celebrating your new privilege does not have to mean taking 21 shots in one night or blacking out.

So, lets go through some tips on how to drink responsibly on your 21st birthday.

While this information is geared towards people who choose to drink, specifically on their 21st birthday, I want to point out a couple things:

  • Not everyone chooses to drink, birthday or not! In fact 21.5% of UMD students don’t drink at all, and another 10.5% drink less than once a month!
  • If you don’t drink now, but might in the future, this information can be useful to you.
  • These are great practices for drinking in general and can really help reduce the risk of harm from drinking alcohol.

Tips for a Responsible 21st Birthday Celebration

  1. Eat beforehand. This seems like a pretty basic concept, but it’s important. Continually drinking on an empty stomach can have serious harmful effects on your body, not to mention – alcohol has pretty much zero nutritional value that your body needs to keep itself going.
  2. Know your limits and pace yourself. Some of us have tested our drinking limits before the age of 21, but if today is your first night consuming alcohol, it’s not a time to experiment. Here are some helpful things to keep in mind when thinking about your limit (number of drinks) and your pace (how fast you’re drinking), including your weight and your age. No one wants to spend his or her birthday vomiting or being babysat – and your friends don’t want to spend your birthday this way, either!
  3. Don’t cave to peer pressure. You are finally legal, of course everyone wants to celebrate and buy you drinks! However, when you know you have had enough, politely decline. If they are really pressuring you, try these strategies:
    1. Hold on to one beer/cup all night and just don’t drink it. When people ask to buy you another, say “oh someone JUST got me this! But thanks!”
    2. Excuse yourself to the bathroom and pour out the drink.
    3. Put water, juice or soda in a cup and just say there is alcohol in there.
    4. Find a friend who will stick up for you and support you!
  4. Alternate drinking alcohol with water. Drinking water will keep you from becoming dehydrated from the alcohol consumption and will also slow your pace.
  5. Finally, don’t forget, you don’t have to drink to have a fabulous 21st birthday. There are plenty of people out there who refrain from drinking alcohol, and that’s pretty cool, especially when you feel like everyone around is drinking. If that’s you, you can enjoy your 21st birthday with your friends by going out to dinner, going to a show, or doing anything else you love.

However you choose to celebrate, remember to do it responsibly for both you and the company around you.

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Tag the Testudos!

On Friday, May 9, we challenged Terps to “Tag the Testudos” as part of the Make Moves Maryland campaign. With a partner, participants navigated from one Testudo to another, using only trivia clues issued at each Testudo, until they have “tagged” the noses of all 5 campus Testudos.

It was an “Amazing Race” to stock up on luck before exams while fitting some healthy physical activity into a Friday afternoon.

Some of the members of the 19 teams before they took off for their first clue.

Some of the members of the 19 teams before they took off for their first clue.

See if you can figure out where the following Testudos are located on campus using these clues: (answers at end of blog post)

  1. My nose has been drilled, and last semester I was set ablaze. I hope during these finals, I see better days.
  2. The 2002 tournament is the greatest memory I carry. Thinking about it helps me feel better when I’m missing Gary.
  3. Kermit sits outside my door, right next to Jim. After a meal at Adele’s, you should snap a picture with him.
  4. After graduating, come back to me and say “Hi!” I’m the official ambassador for Terp Alumni.
  5. I love football and all the cheering fans I’ve heard. Don’t confuse me for my brother, I live outside of Byrd.

Everyone who participated scored a #MakeMovesUMD t-shirt and the teams who completed the challenge were entered to win some great Maryland pride prizes.

Congrats to our winning teams:

  • Daniel Schofield and Robert Kramer
  • Brooke Lubinski and David Park
  • Amy Oliver and Esther Kwara
  • Andrew Conchas and Kevin Cheung
  • Adam Wedekind and Aidan Sharma

Answers to the Testudo clues above:

  1. McKeldin library
  2. Comcast Center
  3. The Adele H. Stamp Student Union
  4. The Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center
  5. Gossett Football Team House

Follow the Campus Recreation Services Facebook page and stay tuned for more fun events like Tag the Testudos.


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Campus Recreation Services asked you to show us how you incorporate activity into your life as part of the “Make Your Move” photo contest. And over 30 of you submitted inspiring photos through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that showcase a variety of ways Terps make moves.

Congratulations to our winner of the FitBit Flex, April Bautista! Other participants scored Make Moves Maryland t-shirts.

Check out how Terps are making moves – and feel motivated to go make some moves yourself. Click on each photo for a description.

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Poolside Safety Tips

By: Connor Davies ’14, Public and Community Health, CRS Communications Assistant

May is National Water Safety Month. You might be ready to dive into summer and leave the memories of our long, cold winter behind you. But before you hit the pool, keep these safety tips in mind for a fun and safe poolside experience.


Be aware of your surroundings. Before you even think about jumping in, take 5 minutes to assess the surrounding area…

  • How deep is the pool?
  • If it has a shallow and a deep end, where does it start increasing in depth?
  • Is the area surrounding the pool made of a hard material like concrete or tile? Will it get slippery when wet?
  • Is diving allowed?
  • Is the pool currently crowded?

Notice if water safety items and lifeguards are available. When going to a public pool, it’s important to take note if safety items and lifeguards are present in the case of an emergency.

  • Is there a certified lifeguard? Are they alert? If not, find a supervisor and alert them to the situation.
  • Does the pool have all the required equipment such as lifeguard rescue tubes, water rescue backboard, AED device, CPR masks and a fully stocked first aid kit?

Practice personal safety. Even when swimming in an area with lifeguards, your first line of defense against possible water accidents is YOU.

  • Know your swimming skill level. If you were pushed in to water over your head, would you be able to calmly make it to the side? If you know you are not a strong swimmer or if you tire easily, stay in areas where you can stand or easily reach the side of the pool.
  • Never swim alone. Even if you are an Olympic-level swimmer, accidents can happen. Always swim with a buddy.
  • Drink plenty of water. You can’t see it, but you sweat while you swim. In addition to heat and physical activity, you can become easily dehydrated and elevate your risk of needing rescue.
  • Don’t drink alcohol and swim. By swimming under the influence, you are putting your own life, the life of those swimming around you and possibly the life of a lifeguard in danger.
  • Watch children in your care. If you bring a child to the pool, it is important to remember that they are YOUR responsibility. Lifeguards are the last line of defense and are not babysitters. Go in the water with children who are in your care and stay within arm’s reach.
  • Use a life jacket in open water. If you’re heading out to open water, wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket. Your life jacket should fit snugly. Raise your hands above your head making a “touchdown” – if the jacket hits your chin or ears, it’s too big or the straps are not adjusted properly.

Protect yourself from the sun. Soaking up some sun by the pool might be part of your summer tradition. However, the sun can be damaging to our skin and increase our risk for skin cancer. Follow these sun safety recommendations whenever you spend any length of time in the sun.

  • Apply sunscreen, of 35 SPF or higher, up to 30 minutes before exposing your skin to the sun. Make this a part of your morning routine over the summer months.
  • When outside and exposed to the sun, reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. Even sunscreens that are advertised as sweat and water resistant should be reapplied for maximum effectiveness.
  • After application of sunscreen, let it settle on the skin for at least 5 minutes before jumping in the pool. Exposing it to water too soon could wash away the sunscreen or dilute it’s effects leaving your skin vulnerable to the sun’s rays.

If you have any poolside safety tips, please share them with us in the comments! Have a fun and safe summer by the pool, Terps!

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Make Your Move photo contest!

As part of the Make Moves Maryland campaign, we’re encouraging you to move more throughout the day even when you don’t have time to hit the gym. Regular activity helps you focus and improves brain function so you can perform better in and out of the classroom.

Now, we want to see how you make moves.
So, go ahead, make your move Maryland!

Make Your Move web banner

We have 4 facts for you…

FACT #1: YOU are an amazing human being capable of being physically active in dozens of unique ways.

FACT #2: YOU right now, at this very moment, have a chance to win a FitBit because of FACT #1.

FACT #3: To enter for a chance to win the FitBit, all you have to do is submit a picture of how you are active to the Make Your Move Photo Challenge .

(FACT #3b: You can also be automatically entered to win by sharing a photo of how you make moves to your public Instagram or Twitter account with the hashtag #MakeMovesUMD)

FACT #4: We extended the deadline to Monday, May 5, but then your time is up! So grab a camera, take a selfie, and MAKE YOUR MOVE before it’s too late!

View the complete challenge details and rules and let us know if you have any questions in the comments below!

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10 Reasons Walking is Wonderful

By: Connor Davies ’14, Public and Community Health, CRS Communications Assistant

The Make Moves Maryland campaign is all about incorporating more activity in to everyday routines. Because let’s face it, few of us have the time to add something new into our already hectic schedule.

However, there is a fantastic, totally free activity that you are already doing that you may be overlooking – WALKING!

Browse through the images below to discover easy ways to fit even more walking into your day.

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What is so wonderful about walking? As it turns out, quite a lot and here are our top 10 reasons why…

1. Walking is accessible to most people.

Unlike activities that require you to travel to a special location, walking is something you can do nearly anywhere! It could be walking to class, walking to the store from the parking lot or even walking down the hall to visit a friend. All it takes is standing up and putting one foot in front of the other.

2. Walking is free!

No membership or special equipment necessary. Walking can be done in work wear, workout gear, in tennis shoes, in flip flops – even in a swimsuit along the beach!

3. Walking can lower stress

Walking can trigger the body’s natural relaxation response after just a few minutes. After a hard day of work, an argument with a friend or before a test, a relaxing stroll can be just what your body and mind need to reset.

4. Walking is a low-impact exercise.

Unlike running or contact sports, walking is relatively easy on joints. Three cheers for less pain and more activity!

5. Walking can strengthen your bones.

Walking is a weight bearing exercise (i.e. you are bearing the weight of yourself) and has been shown to help your body retain bone density. So when you are walking today, remember that you are investing in the comfort of your future self. (Way to go you!)

6. Walking can tone legs and bum.

Walking at a brisk pace is proven to increase leg muscle tone. This effect is increased by walking up hill, so maybe next time you’re out by The Stamp, you should consider taking the time to conquer “the hill.”

7. Walking helps with digestion

After a particularly satisfying meal, the initial reaction to lay down and take a nap can be strong. However walking after eating can help increase the rate of digestion and help defeat that horrible bloated feeling.

8. Walking doesn’t have to take time out of your normal schedule.

If you look at your normal routine, you might be surprised by how much walking you are already doing between walking to your car, walking to classes or running errands. This effect is only enhanced by our large campus. If you don’t think you are walking enough, try taking the longer route to class and walk at a faster pace.

9. Walking can be social

Meetings are a drag for just about everyone. The next time you have a meeting for a group project or work try suggesting a walking meeting. Or, the next time you hang out with a friend, opt to catch up while you take a walk rather than sit on the couch.

10. Walking can be meditative!

For those times you don’t feel like being social, a quiet relaxing walk on your own can be the perfect way to clear your mind. A practice called mindfulness can be incorporated into walking to create a feeling of awareness and increased mental wellbeing. Walking the labyrinth at the Garden of Reflection and Remembrance outside Memorial Chapel is the perfect location to give it a try. Here are some tips for a mindfulness walk in nature.

What do you love about walking? Tell us in the comments below!

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5 Ways to Spring Clean for Wellness

By: Shannon McHale ’15, CRS Weight/Fitness Supervisor

During the transition from spring to winter, the old adage, “Out with the old, and in with the new” seems most appropriate.

The nice weather and uplifting mood that comes with the season change often inspires us to ditch the unnecessary stuff that’s accumulated in our homes since our last “spring cleaning.”

Credit: don-denver.blogpost.com

Credit: don-denver.blogpost.com

While getting rid of old stuff is definitely important, so is getting rid of old habits.

The motivation that comes when the snow melts away can be put to great use by taking time now to establish important new routines.

Here are five ways you can use “spring cleaning” time to improve your overall wellness:

Clean up your place. It may be the obvious and traditional tip, but actual cleaning is still an important task. A less cluttered space equals less stress – it’s a lot easier to do your homework when you can find it, or when you’re not distracted by the pile of clothes on your floor. If you’re anything like us, when a big assignment is due it often suddenly seems that you need to clean up your room, organize your fridge, throw away the trash, and go through your closet… the list goes on. It’s a lot tougher to procrastinate when you’ve got your space organized, and the cleanliness will put you in a good headspace regardless of what you’re doing.

Clean up your workout routine. A new routine can give you back some of that motivation we all lose when we’re confined to exercising indoors. Getting outside is a great way to fight off stress or feeling down – and combining the outdoors with some good old fashioned exercise will give you double the endorphin boost! If you’re not into outdoor activities, try out a simple gym or home exercise plan. Choose one that you can realistically stick to, and you’ll be feeling great in no time!

Clean up your eating. As the colder months disappear in favor of the warmer ones, try incorporating some of the freshness of spring into your meals. Let fresh, crunchy salads replace some of those heavy, wintry meals like thick stews. Using produce that’s in season will really make you feel like spring is in the air – which is a much-needed feeling after the brutal winter we’ve (hopefully) finally escaped from. You can buy seasonal produce at the on-campus farmers market that opens for its regular season on April 23.

Clean up your sleep schedule. We know you felt it when time “sprung forward” a few weeks ago. Good news: you can use that feeling to your advantage by setting a new schedule. Try going to bed and waking up an hour earlier than usual. Most college students don’t get enough sleep, and this can be combated by normalizing your sleep schedule. Experts say to aim for 7-8 hours a night, so even going to bed at 11 p.m. would still give you plenty of sleep, even if you have to wake up for a dreaded 8 a.m. class.

Clean up your resolve. Spring is the season of “new,” and not just in nature. Take the opportunity that comes with a new season to renew your New Year’s resolutions, or make new ones altogether. Having a goal to work towards will help you power through the last few weeks of a tough semester, and you’ll be rewarded with a hard-earned summer break!

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