In advance of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle on July 1-6, Hillary Kern, Special Olympics Health Messenger and long-time athlete from Texas, shared her secrets for staying active and living a fit, healthy life so she can compete at the top of her game.
The Special Olympics Health Messenger program is empowering people with intellectual disabilities to develop leadership skills so that they can influence others to lead healthier lives, promote inclusion around health and wellness services, and advocate for the health needs of people with intellectual disabilities.
Health professionals can share Hillary’s tips with their patients with intellectual disabilities to help them stay active and follow Hillary’s example of being a leader in the fitness community. Here are three tips, in Hillary’s own words:
- To be a great athlete you need to be a healthy athlete. I got my inspiration from the Special Olympics Fit5 fitness guide, which is based on the three simple goals: exercise 5 days per week, eat 5 total fruits and vegetables per day, and drink 5 bottles of water per day.
- You have the tools to be in charge of your own fitness. I found out that you can start small, with one change and build on that first step. The process has also helped me think more about nutrition and fueling my body with the right foods ahead of competition.
- Set ambitious goals and celebrate milestones along the way. To prepare for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, I took part in a fitness challenge along with over 2,000 athletes. My goal was to reach 1 million steps in five months. I only need to take 10,000 steps each day for 10 more days to reach this goal. The other day, I was playing golf and learned that there would be no golf carts, but this did not bother me because I knew that walking would help me get closer to my goal.
Spread the Word! Share this post with your network using this sample tweet: New on the BAYW blog: @SpecialOlympics athlete shares her tips on staying active to help other people with intellectual disabilities to get fit! https://bit.ly/2KmyPLU #InclusiveHealth