Rec and Wellness Guide
ESPN+ for YOU+
Need some inspiration to get up from your (makeshift) home office? Social distancing put a cramp in your workouts? Looking for shows to help power you through at-home exercise?
ESPN+, the ESPN streaming service ($4.99 monthly by itself or 12.99 monthly in the Disney+ Bundle), offers a seemingly endless supply of inspirational sports streaming content—but what’s good? That question clearly depends on who is asking...so here’s a little bit about me and why I like(ish) ESPN+.
I’m Marion. I’m an endurance athlete and mother to a 6-year old daughter. I’m the Director of Adventure WV. I’ve been an athlete all my life, but I’ve not been much into “watching sports” as I have usually felt that many sports and stories are ignored or poorly covered, except in quick blips during the Olympics or other more famous events. The opportunities to watch swimming, climbing, hiking, running, cycling, tennis, track and field—and especially watch women doing these sports in a way that is not in a support role to men—have been very limited.
At first glance ESPN+ carries events and shows that appeal to the more traditional sports-sports audience—not myself. Truthfully I only got ESPN+ because it came with the Disney+ bundle (for watching Disney movies with my daughter). But since I had it, I decided to snoop around and see if it would appeal to the non-traditional-sports-athlete such as myself. Here’s what I found...and what’s been really GREAT to watch on my morning bike trainer rides:
- Professional level sports that never get regular coverage.
- Want to see international soccer (err, futbol)? Tennis that’s not a grand slam final? Cycling that’s not the Tour de France? International professional rugby? The US Pizza Team (that’s a thing)? ESPN+ has games, matches, and events from all these wonderful-but-less covered sports.
- College sports that are not football nor basketball.
- The first thing I watched on ESPN+ was a Harvard-Brown swim meet. I would never have thought I’d get to watch swimming on TV aside from the Olympics. While I love watching elite-elite swimmers, there was also something satisfying about watching a level of sport and competition that seemed familiar and tangible—I remember all those days on the pool deck myself. There is also collegiate track & field, water polo, squash...and lots of other sports. It’s fun to watch the sports that are close to your heart—chances are ESPN+ has whatever your heart-sport is.
- The best sports short documentaries—30 for 30. The quality of these episodes can vary widely, but some of them are really well done. You have to dig a little through the sports-sports stories (dudes ‘n’ glory), but there are a bunch of ones that appeal to me as a non-sports-sports person. I recommend:
- 9.79--About the 100m dash in the 1988 Olympic Games and the doping surrounding the event
- Slaying the Badger—about cyclist Greg LeMond
- Into the Wind—about Terry Fox, cancer survivor and amputee who ran across Canada
- 4 Days in October—about the 2004 ALCS between the Rex Sox and Yankees. Okay, this is a sports-sports one, but I was living in Boston in the Fall of 2004. The film captures the energy of the city at that time and transported me back to late nights watching and hoping and celebrating. Did I cry watching it? No comment.
A spin off of 30 of 30 is 9 for IX—stories of women in sport. Unfortunately
there are only 5 of these...but it’s great to at least see some coverage.
- Let Them Wear Towels—about women sports reporters getting access to locker rooms for interviews
- Venus Vs.--About Venus Williams and the fight for equal pay in Grand Slam tennis
- No Limits—About deep-diver Audre Mestre who died in pursuit of her goals
- Pat XO—About Pat Summitt—the winning-est coach in NCAA history
- The 99ers--the 1999 USWNT
- It’s not a 9 for IX, but there is also a 4 part series “Alex Morgan the Equalizer”
- Becoming. For those of us also trying to entertain children while working, this show is a partnership between ESPN and Disney, using amination and telling the stories behind famous names like Chris Paul and CC Sabathia.
I’d like to see these lesser-covered sports and stories be featured more prominently on ESPN+. That’s why I like(ish) the service, rather than outright like it. But the ability to put on a race or a story that I feel connected to is a big step up from most of the sports-watching options that I’ve had before.
Happy watching and home-workout-ing.
Listen: Immerse yourself into exciting adventure stories far away
“I ran 550 miles through the mountains to train for 36 miles in the Canyon de Chelly. Those 550 miles were my medicine and my challenge and my place to accept what life gave, and to come home a better person each time than the one who left.” On this episode, Canyon de Chelly Ultra organizer Shaun Martin tells us about the Navajo philosophy on running as healing, as part of Liz's own story of loss, the breaking point, and her healing process of running through our public lands.”
“The notion that there’s one dream that we’re all after and agreed upon ways in which you can verify that you are indeed living that dream drives me crazy,’ says Forest McBrian. “Everyone’s dream is a little bit different. If there is a dream that we all lust after, then we’re all just trying to do what’s pushed by the media. So, yeah, this trip felt like an act of rebellion. Like, ‘This is what we think is cool. We’re going to do what we think is cool’.” In May of 2017, Forest and his friend and fellow ski-guide Trevor Kostanich spent a month traversing the North Cascades from Snoqualmie Pass to the Canadian Border (well, almost) in a style that broke all the rules of an epic mountain expedition–in the best way possible.”
“Camrin Dengel is a professional lifestyle photographer who lives and works on the quiet side of the Teton Mountain Range in Teton Valley, Idaho. Her work focuses on a broad range of subjects, with an emphasis on sustainable agriculture, hunting, fishing, and life in and around her mountain community. In her work and leisure, Camrin is a devoted proponent of slow living, and she strives to approach her profession and life in a manner that is intentional, simple, meaningful, and positive.”
“Several decades ago, radio producer Scott Carrier and his brother Dave tried to chase down an antelope on foot. That might sound crazy, but Dave was an evolutionary biologist and had just come up with a radical idea: during the heat of the day, humans can outrun most any creature, even one of the world’s fastest animals. His theory was that humans had evolved as endurance predators, able to hunt without weapons. So the brothers gave it a shot, and Scott produced a story about the efforts that absolutely captivated people.”
“Kristin Link is a science illustrator and an artist living off the grid in McCarthy, Alaska. She shares about her life there, why she loves helping people see the natural world up close through science illustration, and her tips for applying to artist-in-residencies at national parks.”
“Leadville, Colorado is a mecca for endurance racing in the United States and home to some of the country’s hardest trails and toughest athletes. In the summer of 2019, ultra runners Marvin Sandoval and Buttercup became unlikely partners and show us what happens when you combine a love of sport, hard work, a 10 foot lead rope, and a dash of crazy. One thing Marvin learned, “hang on and see what happens.”
“Picture walking through a parking lot with a ski mask rolled up on your head and a pistol in your pocket. You’re getting closer to the bank, your heart’s beating faster, adrenaline’s starting to rush through your head, and you can’t believe you’re about to do what you’re about to do,” says Roland Thompson. “When you’re climbing a route you’ve never done before, it’s a grade or two above what you’re comfortable with, you’re a few feet above that bolt and you’ve got a dynamic move coming up–that adrenaline is definitely the same intensity, it’s just cleaner.” After serving 10-years in state and federal prisons, Roland discovered that he could satisfy his adrenaline craving and use his ability to stay calm in high-intensity situations by rock-climbing and snowboarding–instead of robbing banks. The outdoors also gave him what he had really been looking for all along: a sense of acceptance and community.”
“In the golden days, dirtbags lived to climb. They didn’t work, have permanent addresses or sponsors. They ate leftovers off of tourists’ plates and slept in beater cars or in caves. They stayed in one place only as long as the weather allowed for climbing. Now, our modern world of fees, time limits and locked dumpsters has made it nearly impossible to live that way anymore. Dirtbagging is dying– or at least that’s what some people claim. Join Matt Van Biene for a day in Yosemite’s Camp 4 as he talks to climbers of all different ages, nationalities and backgrounds. Is dirtbagging dead or alive? What does the modern dirtbag look like? Well, you decide.”
“There is a fine line between a life-lasting memory and disaster. Whatever the discipline–alpinism, big wave surfing, foreign travel–we calculate risk, formulate plans and sometimes we have the spunk to see them through. Today, we’re headed to Laos to recount the story of two friends and one spectacularly bad idea. Join us as we follow Jacob Bain, Colin Brynn and a bamboo raft down a river at the edge of the world. Sometimes, bad ideas work out for the better. Sometimes.”
“Over two weeks I went from pretty ‘fine’–I have to say ‘fine’ with air quotes and an eye roll, because it’s that kind of fine–so, I went from ‘fine’ to ‘I’m out’! I just needed a life restart,” says Katie Crafts. For her thirtieth birthday, Katie gave herself a trip on a cruise to Antarctica. In the other, older passengers on the ship, she caught a glimpse of her future if she continued on the path she was on. In the ship’s crew, she saw something else: a superwoman equivalent of herself. Today, we bring you the story of a journey to the far reaches of our planet, and of what it takes to see the person you want to be, and then become that person. It starts with saying ‘yes’.”
“When you walk a trail in the woods, have you ever wondered, how did this get here? Who carved this path? Was this stone staircase always like this? Nope. Chances are a team of hardscrabble men and women worked tirelessly to make sure the paths you follow blend right into the landscape. In this story, we find out why one such trail crew, known as the 'TFC', is the stuff of legend.”
“If you’ve ever met someone on the trail who sounds like they were named by cartoon characters, you have discovered trail names! And today we’ll share everything you need to know about this fun trail tradition.”
Read: Adventure books to help turn your brain off from daily stresses
Grand Adventures (Alastair Humphreys)
Found: A Life in Mountain Rescue (Bree Loewen)
Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube (Blair Braverman)
Swell (Captain Liz Clark)
The Emerald Mile (Kevin Fedarko)
The Art of Getting Lost: 365 Days of Adventure, Big and Small (Brendan Leonard)
Walking the Nile (Levison Wood)
Karakoram – Climbing Through the Kashmir Conflict (Steve Swenson)
Tracking the Wild Coomba: The Life of Legendary Skier Doug Coombs (Robert Cocuzzo)
The Doing of the Thing: The Brief, Brilliant Whitewater Career of Buzz Holmstrom (Vince Welch)
“So what’s a GRAND ADVENTURE – it is the most life-changing, career-enhancing, personality-forging, fun adventure of your life. Following on from his popular Microadventures, in Grand Adventures Alastair Humphreys shines a spotlight on the real-life things that get in the way: stuff like time, money or your other commitments. Grand Adventures is also crammed with hard-won wisdom from people who have actually been there and done that: by boat and boot, car and kayak, bicycle and motorbike. People who had one epic trip then returned to normal life, or who got bitten so badly by the bug that they devoted their life to the pursuit of adventure. Young people, old people. Men, women. Mates, couples, families. Extraordinary, inspiring people. People like you. Saving your pennies, overcoming inertia, generating momentum, getting out the front door: if you want it enough, you can do it. Tiny steps to a grand adventure.”
“A former Mount Rainier climbing ranger and trained leader in mountain search-and-rescue, Bree shares the drama and the camaraderie of this work, as well as the challenges of trying to fit her other roles as wife and mother into what is still largely a masculine environment. In a fearless voice—disarming yet laced with dark humor—Bree guides us through intense recoveries, vivid wilderness landscapes, and the warmth she discovers in motherhood, community, and purpose.”
“By the time Blair Braverman was eighteen, she had left her home in California, moved to arctic Norway to learn to drive sled dogs, and found work as a tour guide on a glacier in Alaska. Determined to carve out a life as a “tough girl”—a young woman who confronts danger without apology—she slowly developed the strength and resilience the landscape demanded of her. By turns funny and sobering, bold and tender, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube brilliantly recounts Braverman’s adventures in Norway and Alaska. Settling into her new surroundings, Braverman was often terrified that she would lose control of her dog team and crash her sled, or be attacked by a polar bear, or get lost on the tundra. Above all, she worried that, unlike the other, gutsier people alongside her, she wasn’t cut out for life on the frontier. But no matter how out of place she felt, one thing was clear: she was hooked on the North. On the brink of adulthood, Braverman was determined to prove that her fears did not define her—and so she resolved to embrace the wilderness and make it her own.”
“True surfers understand that surfing is not a sport, a hobby or even a lifestyle. Instead, it is a path, a constantly evolving journey that directs where you go, how you live, and who you are. In 2006, Liz Clark decided to follow the path that surfing, sailing and love of the ocean had presented to her. Embarking on an adventure that most only dream of taking, she set sail from Santa Barbara, solo, headed to the South Pacific. Nine years later she is still following her path in search of surf and self and the beauty and inspiration that lies beyond the beaten path. In stories overflowing with epic waves and at the whim of the weather, Liz captures her voyage in gripping detail, telling tales of self awareness, solitude, connection to the earth, and really great surf spots.”
“In the spring of 1983, massive flooding along the length of the Colorado River confronted a team of engineers at the Glen Canyon Dam with an unprecedented emergency that may have resulted in the most catastrophic dam failure in history. In the midst of this crisis, the decision to launch a small wooden dory named “The Emerald Mile” at the head of the Grand Canyon, just fifteen miles downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam, seemed not just odd, but downright suicidal. The Emerald Mile, at one time slated to be destroyed, was rescued and brought back to life by Kenton Grua, the man at the oars, who intended to use this flood as a kind of hydraulic sling-shot. The goal was to nail the all-time record for the fastest boat ever propelled—by oar, by motor, or by the grace of God himself—down the entire length of the Colorado River from Lee’s Ferry to Lake Mead. Did he survive? Just barely. Now, this remarkable, epic feat unfolds here, in The Emerald Mile.”
“The Art of Getting Lost will illuminate the details of dream trips, and inspiring readers to understand that adventure is not out of reach. Most of us face a couple of obstacles when it comes to living our Walter Mitty-esque adventure dreams: ideas of what to do, and concrete knowledge of how long those ideas will take. It’s a long way from talking to some guy at the bar about his Grand Canyon Raft trip to going home and Googling a synopsis of how to make it happen, and then clicking around a guide company’s website to find out if it takes three days or 30. But it won’t be hard to flip through this book and get inspired.”
“Starting in November 2013 in a forest in Rwanda—where a modest spring spouts a trickle of clear, cold water—writer, photographer, and explorer Levison Wood set forth on foot, aiming to become the first person to walk the entire length of the fabled river. He followed the Nile for nine months, over 4,000 miles, through six nations—Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, the Republic of Sudan, and Egypt—to the Mediterranean coast. Like his predecessors, Wood camped in the wild, foraged for food, and trudged through rainforest, swamp, savannah, and desert, enduring life-threatening conditions at every turn. He traversed sandstorms, flash floods, minefields, and more, becoming a local celebrity in Uganda, where a popular rap song was written about him, and a potential enemy of the state in South Sudan, where he found himself caught in a civil war and detained by the secret police. As well as recounting his triumphs, like escaping a charging hippo and staving off wild crocodiles, Wood’s gripping account recalls the loss of Matthew Power, a journalist who died suddenly from heat exhaustion during their trek. As Wood walks on, often joined by local guides who help him to navigate foreign languages and customs, Walking the Nile maps out African history and contemporary life.”
“The Karakoram is home to K2, the deadliest of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks. The best mountain climbing in the world, Steve Swenson will tell you, is in the Karakoram. Swenson has been climbing in these mountains since 1980 and has a perspective on the land and its people like few others. A complex place, the Karakoram Range is located in Kashmir, a western Himalaya border region that has a long history of tension and conflict between China, India, and Pakistan, tensions that have only been magnified since 9/11. Over the course of more than thirty years climbing there, Swenson’s experiences have been laced with daunting challenges, exhilarating successes, and terrifying moments—caused by the risks inherent in alpine environments, as well as politics below spilling into the peaks above.”
“Arguably the greatest extreme skier to ever live, Doug Coombs pioneered hundreds of first descents down the biggest, steepest, most dangerous mountains in the world—from the Grand Teton “Otter Body” in Jackson Hole, to Mount Vinson, the highest point in Antarctica, to far-flung drops such as Wyatt Peak in Kyrgyzstan. He graced magazine covers, wowed moviegoers, became the face of top ski companies, and ascended as the king of big mountain extreme skiing.”
“Biography of America's great river runner, Buzz Holmstrom: the first to run the Green and Colorado Rivers alone in 1937. Born in the coastal logging communities of coastal Oregon, Holmstrom built his own wooden boats and soloed several of the country's great whitewater rivers. He died mysteriously on the Grande Ronde River at age 37.”
"Be Good To Yourself" - Learn new ways to support your mental health!
No matter we go, our breath is with us. Learn what diaphragmatic (belly) breathing is, how it helps, and how to do it.
- Relaxation techniques: breathing: Harvard Health Letter
- Very basic belly breathing video
- Instructional diaphragmatic breathing video
- Diaphragmatic belly breathing handout
Why Going Outside is Good for You
Can going outside help us inside – inside our minds and bodies? Yes! Learn more about the benefits of spending time in nature.
- The Health Benefits of Going Outside – The Atlantic Video
- Health Benefits of Spending Time Outside: Harvard Health Letter
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
How does intentionally tensing our muscles help us to relax? It might sound strange, but it works! Learn what progressive muscle relaxation is, how it helps, and how to do it.
- The Benefits of Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation Video
- Guide to Progressive Muscle Relaxation Handout
Self-Compassion & Affirmations
From an early age, we’ve been taught to “be kind” to others - this makes sense. But what does it look like to be kind to ourselves? Learn what self-compassion is and what it isn’t. Learn meditations and exercises that can help you to develop this new way of interacting with yourself along with some positive affirmations!
- Overview of Self-Compassion
- Self-Compassion Guided Meditations and Exercises (there are multiple links within this site)
- 25 positive affirmations for college students
Shinrin Yoku (Forest Bathing)
In Japanese, Shinrin means “forest,” and yoku means “bath”. Therefore, shinrin-yoku means bathing in the forest atmosphere. Learn more about this ancient Japanese practice and why it’s good for you.
- The Art & Science of Shinrin Yoku (Forest Bathing) Video
- Introduction to Shinrin Yoku Video
- The Guardian Article
- Time Magazine Article
- Japan Travel Article
- Forest Bathing Guide
Have you ever found your mind wondering and worrying? Wish there was something you could do about it? Good news, there is! Explore these various grounding techniques for ways to bring yourself into contact with the present moment – the here and now.
Engage in the scientific process from home! Find new ways to stimulate your mind and focus your scientific inquiry. Learn to use technology and virtual connections in novel ways to connect with existing research and experiments. Become a member of the scientific community! This compilation of material focuses on two subjects - what citizen science is and current projects you can get involved with. Most citizen science projects can be completed maintaining appropriate social distancing protocols, either through web-based technology, or completed by yourself outside. Citizen science can be a perfect way to provide focus to your time outside. You can even help contribute to research regarding the fight against coronavirus!
If Andrew Can Cook, So Can You!
There are a number of extremely fun and interactive cooking documentaries out there.
They range from how-to videos, new and interesting takes on popular cuisine, to
the science and history behind the different foods of the world. This interactive
guide will take students on a tour of the content available on Netflix, Youtube,
and social media to allow for more nutritious and educated/inspired cooking at
home and abroad. Years ago I wanted to experiment with different foods and wanted
to learn some new techniques. All of these shows were a large part of what has
given me the opportunity to break complex meals down into their basic parts to
hopefully improve my kitchen skills. Join me on this journey through my cooking
Ever wonder where some of our most delicious foods come from? Take a journey with Brad Leone from Bon Appetit as he gives tutorials about how to make some of the funkiest foods out there. His ability to make cooking fun, interactive, and full of hilarious puns and pop-culture Easter eggs make this show a wonderful way to be entertained and learn some new recipes.
Chef's Table on Netflix is 6 seasons of some of the best cinematography, travel destinations,
and food personalities in the world. This show takes some elements from Planet
Earth based landscape photography and pairs them with an in depth dive into some
of the best food and personalities in the cooking scene. This show is a wonderful
way to spend an evening while social distancing with your family.
Sam the Cooking Guy and his children run a complete cooking show from the comfort
of their home. Sam owns and operates several excellent restaurants in California
and brings many of his famous recipes to his Youtube account. He makes cooking
fun by taking requests from the public and showcasing how to cook some of the world's
most iconic foods. At this time is is also doing "Quarantine Food" episodes to
give folks ideas for making awesome dishes with what you can find in your pantry.
Chef Steps is a Youtube account dedicated to making amazing food using the newest
techniques and technologies. Their staff showcases ways that you can make some
of the greatest high end food out there in the comfort of your own home. They produce
extremely clean videos that are fun and informative and give the view a better
understanding of how to break down complex meals in basic chef steps.
Start Researching and Planning your next outing
A big part of doing outdoor activities is knowing what resources are out there, where they are and how to participate. Take a closer look at the great outdoor activities and locations in West Virginia and near Morgantown.