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A Fitness Force

If you thought 586,000 square miles—the land surface of Alaska—could slow down Darci Owens, you were wrong.
Two representatives show a group of individuals instructions in a gymnasium.

Fitness is an important component of a healthy lifestyle for everyone. Worldwide, 31% of Special Olympics adult athletes suffer from obesity compared to 13% of adults in the general population. For children ages 5-19 years old, 15% of Special Olympics athletes are obese while 7% of the general population are.

It is important that our athletes follow a good fitness routine to help them stay in shape and perform at the highest level during every competition while feeling confident. The Special Olympics Fit 5 program makes it easy for anyone to get fit. Just remember these three simple actions:

  • Exercise 5 days a week;
  • Eat 5 total fruits & vegetables per day; and,
  • Drink 5 16oz/500ml bottles of water per day.
An athlete instructs others that are observing in the chef's kitchen how to eat healthy.

Fit 5 is reaching athletes throughout Alaska, thanks in large part to Owens. She travels the state to meet with alpine ski, snowboard, swimming and basketball teams as well as police officers involved in the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics. Owens practices what she teaches and encourages her own friends and family to be active. It is hard to believe Owens was trained as a Health Messenger less than one year ago.

But even with how impressive Owens is, she knows that this message of fitness is one others must embrace and teach in order to make the difference that is needed. That is why Owens recently co-led Alaska’s first Special Olympics Health Messenger Training at the statewide annual leadership conference. At the conference, Owens led areas such as a daily 45-minute fitness session with all attendees and a hands-on hydration activity. Eleven athletes from six different community programs were trained as Health Messengers, which will extend the message of health and fitness into many more locales.

With athletes like Owens leading the way, Health Messengers are working to create healthier athletes across Alaska and across the world.

Contact your local Special Olympics Program to learn more about Health Messengers and/or download a copy of the Fit 5 guide here.

An instructor at the front of the room teaching content related to Fitness as students pay attention.

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