The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in an unprecedented moment across the globe. It has made one of the most basic human instincts of connecting with one another difficult to do as we physically separate to help slow the transmission of the virus.
Now more than ever, it’s imperative that we find creative and physically distant ways to maintain, and perhaps even strengthen, the connections that are so important to our communities. If there has been a silver lining to this crisis, it has been that people across the world have demonstrated the importance of community and connections in sometimes profound and moving ways. The lengths to which people will go to to keep community and connections intact has been a source of hope during incredibly difficult times.
“It’s so inspiring to see our community make the most of this otherwise difficult time.” – Brittany Hoegh, SOWI’s Director of Training
Special Olympics Wisconsin is an especially tight-knit community that is typically centered around large gatherings where friends across the state can come together and bond over their shared love of sports, among other things. Since this is not possible at the moment, we have created a SOWI Fitness at Home Facebook Group for our athletes and supporters. The group is being used to share tips on staying active at home and to serve as an inclusive virtual community where people with and without ID can stay fit, happy and connected, all from the comfort of their homes.
Although the group was just created on March 18, 235 people have already joined the group. In these short two weeks, there have already been 115 posts and more than 1,700 engagements (posts, comments reactions).
“So far, the group has easily surpassed my expectations,” said Brittany Hoegh, SOWI’s Director of Training. “Athletes, unified partners, parents, and SOWI staff are posting about all the healthy choices they are making at home.”
The content has run the spectrum from sharing workouts or hikes, to giving tips on how to easily make healthy snacks, to sharing positivity or words of encouragement.
Some of the posts relate to the SOWI FIT5 Challenge, where athletes are encouraged to participate in a five-week challenge around fitness, healthy eating and proper hydration. All athletes who successfully complete the challenge for the full five weeks will receive a prize and have their name entered in a contest for a grand prize.
The group has also been an ideal place to promote Special Olympics’ new School of Strength. The online workout program uses inclusive workout videos featuring WWE Superstar Becky Lynch to make for fun at-home fitness. It’s a great way for athletes and fans to stay fit and reach their athletic goals during this time of social distancing.
Although we do have to continue to remain physically apart right now, the SOWI Fitness at Home Facebook group is one way that the Special Olympics Wisconsin community will stay healthy and connected.
“It’s so inspiring to see our community make the most of this otherwise difficult time,” Hoegh said. “I hope this mentality lives on well past the coronavirus pandemic and we continue to be stronger and happier together.”
If you’d like to join the Fitness at Home group, click HERE.