Tyler Wigington, Special Olympics WI Athlete, Shares How He Stayed Physically and Socially Active During the Pandemic

Hi, my name is Tyler Wigington. I am a self-advocate, and in my blog post, I want to share how I stayed active physically, mentally, and socially during the pandemic. A little bit about myself, I am special Olympics athlete for Wisconsin. I do track and field, and my favorite event is the 800m race. I am really active so COVID was hard for me.

When the government released the COVID 19 stay at home order, it took me a while to figure out how I am going to stay healthy. I tried not to be stressed when I was stressed for a few months.  I was stressed that I didn’t have my own equipment in my condo, and I didn’t want to spend money on equipment since there isn’t a lot of room for it. It was hard for me to find ways to stay active and healthy. I did a lot of running and walking since that was all I can do during the pandemic. I only had my bands. We did a lot of virtual workouts over zoom with Special Olympics Wisconsin. It wasn’t the same though because you still feel kind of down. When you see your friends over zoom, it is just not the same as seeing them in-person. The virtual workouts through Special Olympics did not happen right away because everyone was still trying to adapt and have a plan. It was hard to adapt to it. I was worried with running out in public because I didn’t want to get covid by getting too close to people. The first few months were hard. It started to get better as the restrictions were getting put in the place like opening up gyms, but you have to wear a mask the entire time and being 6 feet apart from others. Working out and staying active are very important to me. Each week, we did a lot of Fit5 workouts through Special Olympics and focused on different parts of your body. I tried to do a lot things to continue to support my physical well-being. I also had some involvements to support my social and mental well-being.

I was able to connect with friends and new friends from different states over zoom to learn more about how I can find more information or be involved in research. It is important to meet new people and connect over this difficult time. I got to participate in the READI curriculum with the Special Olympics Minnesota athletes through zoom. READI stands for Research Engagement and Advocacy for Diverse Individuals. I was actually on the research team through UW-Madison and helped develop the READI curriculum. I helped by giving feedback and ideas to the curriculum because the research team was asking how they can make it more accessible and better overall. I have been on this research team for at least 3 years. Recently, I had a leadership role and participated in the 2021 Health Research Summit. My working group focused on creating a facilitator guide for people who want to give the READI curriculum to other people. At the virtual Health Summit, I presented with another research team member, and we shared a piece of the READI curriculum.

COVID was hard for everyone. What was challenging for you? How did you stay healthy and what ways did you work out and create equipment in your house?

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