Special Olympics Minnesota’s SOfit health promotion program is a Unified approach to improving and protecting health and wellness for people with and without intellectual disabilities. SOfit offers participants a comprehensive, 360-degree look at wellness and the human spirit. Together, athletes and Unified partners are empowered to challenge and change the way they look at diet, daily exercise and lifestyle choices.
Four Pillars of Wellness
SOfit encourages you to drink plenty of water (e.g., a glass with each meal), stay active, eat nutritious foods and get plenty of sleep (try for more than eight hours a night).
SOfit encourages you to be aware of what you’re eating, eat 3-5 substantial meals a day and eat when you’re hungry rather than when you have cravings for food.
Bullying and cyberbullying is NEVER okay, even when you think it’s a joking situation, and can severely damage one’s emotional well-being.
Expressing healthy social skills such as cooperation, good communication and conflict resolution skills and respect for others can positively impact your social wellness.
The SOfit Program
The SOfit program is an eight-week Unified approach to wellness, which pairs athletes with a Unified Partner, with the primary goal of the program being to guide, educate and encourage athletes and partners to maintain a healthy lifestyle through increased physical activity and improved daily nutrition. Each team will have at least one coach, who is committed to educating and guiding the athletes and Unified partners on their respective teams to a healthier, more active lifestyle.
Teams are asked to meet once a week, completing an educational topic and fitness portion. For the educational portion, coaches are given a “menu” of educational topics that they can choose from. These topics include healthy cooking, healthy grocery shopping, importance of varying workouts, and healthy beverage choices, among others. Coaches are encouraged to tailor the educational portion of their meetings to what their group’s interests are. At the end of the eight-week session, groups are asked to come up with a topic they would like included in the program, and it is added to the SOfit curriculum, creating more and more topics for future sessions.
Goals of SOfit
- Guide individuals with and without intellectual disabilities to maintain healthier lifestyles through increased physical activity and improved daily nutrition
- Increase participants’ knowledge about physical exercise, nutrition, nutritious meal preparation and shopping for nutritious food from pre-program to post-program
- Allow participants to experience heightened social engagement and better emotional wellbeing as a byproduct of the inclusive nature of the program