We are all given one body to use throughout our life.
We have a choice on how we choose to maintain that body.
Although athletics competition remains at the forefront of Special Olympics, the need for proper health care and access to care has been recognized. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) experience poorer health outcomes than the general population.
Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities are more likely to:
- Live with complex health conditions
- Have limited access to quality health care and health promotion programs
- Miss health screenings
- Have poorly managed chronic conditions
- Become obese
SOKS and the Health Heroes Program are committed to the overall wellness of individuals with intellectual disabilities and their supporters and have developed several programs to this end.
Fitness Program to Change Lives
This is a year-round fitness program designed to increase the fitness level of SOKS athletes, family members, coaches and other citizens in Kansas Communities. Over 73% of Special Olympics athletes in North America are considered OBESE. Among the general population, 68% of adults and 31% of children or adolescents are considered overweight or obese. People who are overweight or obese are more likely to have, or develop, health issues:
- 20 times more likely to develop diabetes
- 55 times more likely to be depressed
- 6 times more likely to have high blood pressure
- 81% increased risk of heart disease
- 64% increased risk of stroke
The Fitness Program asks participants to commit to an exercise routine or improve their current exercise regime by making it more consistent. Participating individuals are asked to engage in physical activity 5 days a week for 15-30 minutes a day (30 minutes is recommended by the American Heart Association) for a minimum of 4 consecutive weeks.
Goals of the program:
1. Participation commitment from:
25% of SOKS Staff and Board Members
20 Local Teams with 20% of the delegation participating
200 SOKS supporters
2. Collect data from the baseline and post-program surveys to show the impact of the program.
3. Build partnerships with organizations and local communities who provide fitness opportunities
4. Assist Citizens in Kansas to improve their health
5. Log 5,000 hours of additional exercise per month
This weekly work-out program is offered throughout the year. Individuals and delegations register with the SOKS Headquarters office and are provided with an enrollment packet. The enrollment packet includes a program overview, registration and pre-participation survey form, a fitness program log, and a post participation survey. Participants are asked to complete and turn in the enrollment form and pre-participation survey prior to starting the program, and submit logs to SOKS after 4 weeks or on completion of the program. SOKS athletes are encouraged to work with a Training Coordinator or Companion who will set goals and encourage them to exercise while also completing the necessary paperwork for the program. At the end of the program participants are awarded a participation certificate.
Healthy Lifestyles is a lifestyle changing, health education program that will be taught to athletes, by adults, with the goal of improving each athlete’s ability to train and compete. By providing athletes with tools to advance their health, fitness and overall quality of life and by teaching preventative care practices, Healthy Lifestyles reinforces the importance of integrating healthy choices into an athlete’s day-to-day routine.
At Special Olympics we feel that any adult may advocate for athletes. Lessons should be held outside of a SOKS competition and spread out over a six month period. We ask that you commit to running the program for at least 4 weeks with lessons repeated five times each week. We encourage you to focus on each lesson for 4 weeks before you engage the athlete in another topic.
Each lesson takes just 10-15 minutes and will take the form of a fun and informative discussion. Athletes will take short quizzes after each lesson and incentives will be provided. There are six lessons: hydration, sun safety, exercise and stretching, hand washing, nutrition, and oral health.
Contact Terri Price, firstname.lastname@example.org or 913-236-9290 ext.109 for more information
Bike 4 Life
Bike 4 Life Program
Coach John Lair of Pittsburg, developed an exercise program using the stationary bike for athlete Scott Ball in June 2009. Scott lost over 160 pounds and was so successful that the program has been expanded to include all the athletes and coaches. In 2012, the athletes were challenged to lose Half-a-Ton (1,000 pounds) and they met their goal!
Volunteers (Work-out Coordinators) preset destinations and distances from the athlete’s home town to destinations across the United States. E.g. Pittsburg, KS to New York City, NY (1,255 miles). The athletes ride a stationary or non stationary bike from 15 minutes to an hour at a time to reach the destination of their choice. Work-out Coordinators keep a track of the mileage and set a goal for weight loss. The athletes are weighed at the beginning of the program and again when they reach their destination.
Click on the link to see how you or your team can become Health Heroes by using Bike 4 Life.
Club Fit encourages Special Olympics Kansas stakeholders (athletes, families, volunteers, supporters, etc.) to develop a healthy lifestyle. Although we all try to eat healthy and exercise regularly, by committing to a 4 week regimen we feel you are more likely to be successful in achieving your goals. We believe, by following a healthy lifestyle regimen, individuals show increased productivity and have a better quality of life.
Remember, you have only one body…why not take care of it?
How the program works:
Participants or their caregivers are asked to complete a Club Fit Registration Form (download here) and select a 4-week, 8-week, 12-week or 16-week commitment. Return the form to Terri Price, email@example.com or mail to the HQ Office.
Participating individuals are encouraged to commit to the following:
- Drinking 64oz. of water per day for a minimum of 5 days per week.
- Physical activity for 15-30 minutes per day for at least 5 days per week.
- Eating 2 servings of fruits and 2 servings of vegetables per day for a minimum of 5 days per week.
Track your progress on the Club Fit Progress Log (download here). On completion of your program, verify you have completed the program by sending an e-mail to Terri Price, firstname.lastname@example.org, that includes your name and the number of weeks you followed the program. e.g. Terri Price has completed 8 weeks of the Club Fit program.
Participants will be asked to complete a short survey (download here) upon completion of the program. Once results have been received you will receive a Club Fit T-shirt. Review your results and consider continuing your healthy lifestyle…
Contact Terri if you have questions 913-236-9290 ext. 109.
Special Olympics Kansas recommends participants consult their local health professional before
starting an exercise routine.
Healthy Eating and Goal Setting
The “MyPlate, MyWins” video series visits six families from across America – Rocio, Shelley, Bryan & Keah, Lilac & PJ, Candice & James, and Carol & Brad. Watch how they make healthy choices that work for their family lives, while teaching their kids healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Real life can be hard – eating healthy doesn’t have to be! Click here to view the video
SuperTracker can help you plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity. Find out what and how much to eat; track foods, physical activities, and weight; and personalize with goal setting, virtual coaching, and journaling. Log In or Create a Profile to get started today!
- Nutrition Lessons for High School Students
- Worksite Wellness Toolkit
- Scavenger Hunt
- Training Guide
- Best Practices for Trainings
- More SuperTracker downloads
NEW: SuperTracker Groups and Challenges SuperTracker groups allow groups of people to use SuperTracker together. Anyone can create a group and invite others to join (e.g., teachers, parents, worksite wellness coordinators, or health professionals). Group leaders can run reports of food and physical activity data group members agree to share and/or create a healthy eating challenge. Create a challenge for your group to encourage healthy eating and physical activity through friendly competition. Choose from readymade MyPlate Challenges or create your own custom challenge. Check out the groups and challenges fact sheet and start on yours here
Tools to Help you and your Family Develop Healthy Lifestyles
- Healthy Families Commitment Card Use this check list of activities for your family to make a commitment.
- Choose to Change Cards. These cards give tips and tools to address a variety of health issues that need to be addressed to develop a healthy lifestyle. Download the topics that most apply to your family’s lifestyle. Topics include: Controlling Blood Pressure; Fruits & Vegetables; Hydration; Hygiene; Protection from the Sun; Strong bones; and Smoking.