Terps <3 the Tap

Did you know there are 19 water bottle filling stations in CRS facilities?

Campus Recreation Services is dedicated to reducing consumption of single-use water bottles in our facilities – starting with our own employees. In partnership with the Residence Hall Association’s Sustainability Committee, we distributed over 600 “Terps <3 The Tap” water bottles to our student employees.

When you see our student staff with these water bottles, commend them for doing their part to reduce bottled water usage.

Filtered water filling stations have been installed in our facilities, and across campus, to encourage the campus community to reuse and refill, instead of consuming single-use bottled water

CRS Water bottle infographic (7)

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Terps Shake Off Their Stress #shakeitoffUMD

It’s finals season and the stress on campus is palpable. Some of our energetic and fearless group fitness instructors stood outside McKeldin Library earlier this week and asked passing students to do a good luck dance for Testudo to relieve their stress.

Our friends over at University Libraries spliced all the clips and set it to none other than Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” of course. It’s impossible to watch without smiling.

It’s a good reminder for us all to take frequent breaks from studying to regain perspective and have a little fun. Get up and move often — just a little physical activity (a solo dance party in your room totally counts) will make it easier to focus, retain information, and think creatively while you study.

Here are some of our favorite tweets about the video. Share your thoughts with #shakeitoffUMD!


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How to Choose The Best Shoes for Exercise

By: Cynthia Gao, Campus Recreation Services, Group Fitness Instructor

Not all shoes are made equal. Depending on what you’re using the shoe for and for how long, here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing the right shoe.

Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user Nora Kuby

Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user Nora Kuby

1. Asses your activity.

What kind of activity will you be doing? Are you going to be playing tennis, running, walking?

If you are playing tennis, or any similar sport, you will want a shoe that has a laterally stable build. In sports like tennis or basketball you are constantly moving front to back and side to side, therefore the shoe must be able to support that side-to-side movement in order to prevent injury.

If you are running, you’ll want a shoe that gives you both support and stability for the forward and backwards movement, but because you don’t move laterally when you run that lateral build is not necessary.

If you just want a shoe for walking, then you’ll want a shoe that has stiff rubber in the back in order to accommodate the heavier heel strike that is associated with the walking motion.

2. One shoe for all activities?

What if you don’t just do any one activity in particular and are looking for a causal exercise shoe that you can wear for anything?

According to Kathleen Stone, president of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), you might want to consider a cross-trainer shoe. Look for one that has a firm heel, good support (not too bendable), and a light weight (not too heavy on your foot).

3. Don’t get too attached.

So, you’ve picked the perfect shoe for you and your activity. You begin to love them so much that you never want to get rid of them.

Waiting until they “look bad” to replace them is very common but, not a great idea. This is because even if your shoe still looks good, the support of the shoe may be worn out which can lead to aches and pains.

A common recommendation is to replace your shoes every 300 to 500 miles. If you don’t run or walk frequently enough to track your miles, aim to replace your workout shoes at least once a year.

Treat your feet right because you’ll be using them throughout the rest of your life!

Source: 5 Biggest Mistakes When Choosing Workout Shoes (WebMD)

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#iamCRS Spotlight: Meredith Wilson

By Laura Gonzalez ’15, Campus Recreation Services, Communication Assistant

Meet Meredith: a Cycle Group Fitness Instructor

Meredith Willson, a senior civil engineering major, has been a group fitness instructor with Campus Recreation Services for nearly a year. She heard about the opportunity through a friend on the Maryland Triathlon team, earned her certification to teach cycling classes, was awarded the position and hasn’t looked back.


Willson teaches Cycle 45, a 45-minute non-impact cycling class designed for all fitness levels that mixes speed and resistance for a total workout. She also teaches a class introduced just last spring called Cyclefest which occurs once a semester and features a two hour video ride focused on climbing and endurance.

Her love of cycling began in high school with spin classes and eventually expanded to road cycling after she joined the Maryland Triathlon team at the university.

“The most rewarding part of being an instructor is that I can see progress throughout the semester. Many of the people that come to my classes come every single week and as the semester goes on, I try to make the classes a little bit tougher, Willson said, “Even though the workouts get harder, everyone toughs it out and hopefully leaves with even more satisfaction than they did the week before.”

Willson is no stranger to pushing her limits. In the summer of 2013 she participated in a fundraising event called the 4K for Cancer led by the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults that consisted of a 4,507 mile ride from Baltimore, MD to Portland, OR over the span of 70 days. She made the journey with 24 other strangers across states to deliver two scholarships to young adults diagnosed with cancer in addition to cooking meals at American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodges along the way.


Willson rode for her grandfather who died of leukemia and a family friend who was diagnosed with colon cancer. Not only did this fulfill Willson mentally and emotionally, but after the first two weeks of cycling every day she saw marked improvement in her cycling fitness and ability.

In addition to this cross-country ride, Willson competed in her first full Ironman Maryland competition in September and hopes to go to with the Maryland Triathlon team to national competitions in the spring.

After graduation, Willson hopes to continue teaching indoor cycling. It is important for her to have an outlet for fitness activity and incorporate what she loves into her wellness routine.

Willson suggests that those who are hesitant to try group fitness should take the plunge!

“We make it a point to ask participants if there is anyone new to the class, if anyone has any questions or is concerned about any past or present injuries,” Willson said, “Group fitness is a fun and interactive way of getting your daily dose of exercise. For me at least, time seems to pass a lot quicker when I’m surrounded by other people pushing themselves, than when I’m working out on my own.”

About Group Fitness at Maryland

Group fitness classes are a fun way to be active and offer a challenge for people from all fitness and experience levels. Classes are open to all university students, CRS members and guests.

To attend a class, you must obtain a group fitness sticker by signing an informed consent waiver and presenting your university ID or CRS membership card with the sticker attached at the time of the class. Classes are drop-in only, so no need to sign up ahead of time.

All instructors are undergraduate or graduate students at this university and are certified to teach group fitness classes. Campus Recreation Services offers a wide variety of classes, including BODYPUMP™, bootcamp, cardioboxing, cycling, HIIT, pilates, yoga, & Zumba®.

View the current group fitness schedule >>

The #iamCRS spotlight blog series highlights outstanding CRS student employees. Learn more about student employment at CRS.

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6 Ways to Stay Active This Winter That Don’t Require the Gym

By: Laura Whitney ’15, Campus Recreation Services, Group Fitness Instructor

Does your gym attendance drop along with the temperature? The combination of frigid temperatures, heavy end-of-semester workloads, and the jam-packed social calendar that comes with the holiday season can make getting to the gym at all, much less on a regular basis, seem like a formidable goal.

Unfortunately, many people seem to think of physical activity as an “all-or-nothing” pursuit—it’s either diligent, several-times-a-week gym attendance or complete and total sloth mode.

However, there’s actually quite a bit of middle ground between these two ends of the spectrum.

Ice skating is a great way to be active! (Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user Jeremy Brooks)

Ice skating is a great way to be active! (Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user Jeremy Brooks)


As a group fitness instructor, I’m obviously biased towards the “manage your workload so you can fit in gym time and bundle up to walk to the gym” approach.  However, I know this is unrealistic for a lot of people.

Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to stay active that don’t involve a gym!  Here are 6 of my favorite ways:

  1. End your day with a brief yoga session at home. Even 15-20 minutes can make a big difference. Not only does yoga improve your physical fitness, but it helps you decompress from the stresses of everyday life and have an easier time falling asleep.   There are tons of online yoga sessions of all skill sets on sites like YouTube, ranging in length from 10 minutes all the way to full hour-long classes. In a pinch, a bath towel makes a great impromptu yoga mat.
  2. Take walking breaks while doing your homework. A good ratio is 10 minutes of walking to 50 minutes of work, although you can obviously alter this to fit your needs.   If you don’t like the idea of walking around aimlessly, try going to a different floor or building to get coffee or use the bathroom. Just make sure to secure your belongings while you’re gone.
  3. Take the stairs! This is an oldie, but a goodie! Most people have to climb several flights of stairs a day, and skipping the elevator can really make a substantial impact on your physical fitness.
  4. Walk to your classes. If the weather isn’t too cold or if you’re bundled up sufficiently, skip Shuttle-UM and walk to your classes. With construction on campus, this is often the fastest route of travel for many students. If you live off-campus, consider biking to your classes.
  5. Choose weekend activities that involve movement. Try swing dancing, salsa dancing, bowling, laser tagging, and ice skating—to name just a few! Not only are there many affordable and close places to go out and be active, you’ll probably have way more fun than the same-old, same-old “hanging out” in your dorm or apartment with friends.
  6. Do your holiday shopping in person. I know how convenient online shopping is, especially in a pinch, but doing your shopping in person doubles as a workout! For many people, a solid session of holiday shopping can equal hours of walking.

Above all, avoid falling into the all-or-nothing mentality. 

If you haven’t been able to go to the gym for the past two weeks, don’t let that stop you from going to the gym today.

Every single time you choose to engage in physical activity, whether it’s walking, taking the stairs, or a scheduled gym session, you are nourishing your body and mind, and doing something great for yourself.  

Every bit counts!

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5 Surprising Thanksgiving Foods You Can Feel Good About Eating

By: Caitlin Smith ’16, University Health Center, Nutrition Peer Educator

It’s that time of year again; the holiday season is upon us. In my opinion, this is the most beautiful time of year, it’s as if the sky becomes painted more vividly, the air becomes a little crisper, and then there’s the FOOD.

Image used under the Creative Commons license from Flickr user Tim Stackton.

Image used under the Creative Commons license from Flickr user Tim Stackton.

Pumpkin everything for starters, and apple pie, stuffing, cornbread, candied sweet potatoes, and that’s just to name a few of my personal favorites… For each holiday, be it Thanksgiving or Christmas, I have the fondest memories of putting on my best holiday attire and attending our traditional family gatherings. This was one of the only times my large family could all get together catch up, enjoy each other’s company, joke, laugh, love and FEAST. So, each year as October comes and goes I get more and more anxious for the reuniting of my family and favorite holiday foods.

However, this time of year makes some people anxious for other reasons. A lot of people don’t have such a positive correlation with the holidays. All of the food can send people’s minds into overdrive trying to figure out how they can navigate it all while sticking to a healthy nutrition plan.

If people do allow themselves some of their favorite holiday treats, as they should, they feel immense guilt and immediately begin to ponder what they can do to “make up” for it or they will restrict all day to “save their calories”.

Well, I’m here to explain that there is no reason for all of this guilt by introducing the top five thanksgiving foods that you can feel good about eating. These are all foods with an abundance of nutrients that your taste buds and your body will thank you for eating.

Nutrient Packed Thanksgiving Goodies

  1. Candied sweet potatoes. I come from a family with southern roots so, this is what we call this delicious side dish. But, whether you refer to it as candied sweet potatoes, sweet potato casserole, or just plain old sweet potatoes – this is one of those dishes you just should not skip this holiday season. My family makes these with marshmallows, butter and brown sugar, and your family may have similar practices but that does not mean this isn’t a food you can feel good about! The benefits of the actual sweet potato far outweigh the less healthy preparation. Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. And if you are really adverse to the extra goodness that comes with the added sweets and butter, simply go for the plain sweet potato, it alone can satisfy almost any sweet tooth.
  2. Turkey. This bird makes a debut at all of my family holidays and since I’m not big on red meat, I wouldn’t have it any other way. With all he has to offer, you shouldn’t be shy of having him on your plate either! Turkey is a lean protein source and contains lots of iron! Go for the dark meat if you’re interested in boosting up your iron a bit.
  3. Apple pie. There’s no way eating this is going to give you enough health benefits to make you feel good about eating it, right? WRONG! Don’t skip this fruit-filled dessert. With as many apples as most apples pies have, it’s almost like eating fruit for dessert! It’s also often lower in calories than many other more pastry-like desserts. Like it á la mode? Use low-fat frozen yogurt instead of ice cream
  4. Deviled eggs. This is an appetizer I always look forward to seeing. They are delicious and certainly nutritious. Eggs are the gold standard of protein and they usually only have about one gram of saturated fat, depending on the amount of mayonnaise used. Eggs are more than just a great source of protein; they contain an abundance of other essential vitamins and minerals.
  5. Green Bean Casserole. This dish has made a few appearances at holiday functions in my family. This little green vegetable is nutritious any way it is prepared. It is packed with vitamins and even has some fiber. If you really don’t like the crunchy fried onions on top of most green bean casseroles, just kick them to the side.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, and remember – the point of a holiday is to celebrate, so don’t get so caught up in counting calories or trying to maintain a stringent eating regimen. Give yourself a break and enjoy all that there is to offer.

You can also sign up for a free diet analysis at the health center for more strategies on holiday eating.


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Food Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

By: Jessica Ivy ’15, University Health Center, Nutrition Peer Educator

The holiday season is one full of family, football, and of course – food!

With so many cooks in the kitchen, it is also a season full of germs. One of the worst feelings is to be stuck in bed while your family enjoys a warm holiday meal without you.

Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Foodborne illnesses can usually be prevented if the right steps are taken. When you’re getting ready to cook, keep the following in mind.

Food Safety Tips

  1. Wash your hands often. Scrub a dub dub! Wash your hands and forearms before you begin to handle food, and wash them after working with raw meat, eggs and other potentially contaminated products.
  2. Don’t cross contaminate cutting boards. Make sure you use a different cutting board to chop vegetables than you use to chop meat. Bacteria can get stuck in the crevices of cutting boards and contaminate future food items.
  3. Keep your countertops clean. Make sure they are sanitized before placing food on them. Avoid placing purses and bags on the counter, as they carry a wide range of bacteria and other germs. Wipe down the countertops when you are done.
  4. Use a meat thermometer.: Ensure meat is heated all the way through to the recommended internal temperature.
  5. Thaw meat properly. When defrosting meat, cover it, and place it in the refrigerator (temp below 40 F). If time is tight, you can thaw it in the microwave. NEVER leave frozen meat on the counter to thaw.
  6. Don’t consume raw eggs. When baking cookies or other desserts, resist the urge to dip your finger in the batter. Raw eggs might contain harmful bacteria that could lead to food poisoning.

Laws of Leftovers

So what happens after the feast?

Typically, big family meals end with leftovers. Do you ever wonder how long something will last in your fridge before it goes bad? First, make sure perishable food is not left out for more than two hours before it is stored in the fridge.

Follow these guidelines for how long food can last in your fridge before tossing it.

  • Cooked vegetables: 3-4 days
  • Cooked pasta: 3-5 days
  • Cooked rice: 1 week
  • Cooked poultry: 3-4 days
  • Stuffing: 1-2 days

If you’re not sure how long something has been in the fridge, abide by this easy mantra: when in doubt, throw it out!

Finally, if you have questions about food safety or any other nutrition issues, make a diet analysis appointment to meet with a knowledgeable peer educator.

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