Hi, my name is Tkia Harris. I am in Special Olympics for Texas, and I used to be in Special Olympics for Florida. I have been an athlete for Special Olympics for three years. The sports I play are basketball, volleyball, and bowling, and I hope to join Track & Field and tennis someday, but it gets so hot in Texas. Through Special Olympics, I have learned valuable lessons, which is what I enjoy most about this program. For instance, when I rebound a ball, I must jump to get the ball and try shooting it. When I dribble the ball, I am allowed to switch hands, but I just dribble with the same hand. I have other hobbies. I enjoy doing diamond art where you are given a picture, beads (diamonds), and a pen. You use the pen to pick up the diamonds and place them on the picture. I also enjoy running, exercising, doing puzzles, painting, and socializing in activities.
I became interested in research the past year because my friend Natalie invited me to do some research projects with her. I appreciate her for introducing me to research because I didn’t think it would be fun. I thought it would be some school class. I had the opportunity to share my ideas and thoughts with other athletes from Special Olympics Florida. I also wrote my health story and share it with our group. I included things that I do to stay healthy like drinking water and running. In one of the modules, we split up into groups where each group created their own research question, and then we had to find answers or information for our question. My research question focused on things to eat before and after your workouts. I learned through researching that a healthy snack you can eat is peanut butter protein balls. I also learned that you need to wait 30 minutes to an hour before working out. I learned that research is important because you learn new information and ideas and then apply them to my life.
Through research, I have learned new ways to continue to stay active. I play a lot of basketball, take a lot of walks (about 2-3 miles), run on any tracks that are around me, and drink lots of water. I have a huge cup that holds 28 ounces of water, and I drink that once a day or 6 bottles of water each day. Not only do I focus on my physical health, but I support my mental health as well. As I mentioned before, I like to do puzzles and diamond art. It was hard to stay active during the pandemic. So, I tried to do activities in my home, participate in Special Olympics online, walk my dog, and run around the track three times to build up running skills. If you are looking for exercises to do at home, you can do high knees, side planks, squats, jumping jacks, running in place, and my favorite, butterfly, which is a yoga pose that stretches your hips and legs. If you are a beginner in working out, start off small, gentle, and easy that works best for you. Once you get used to the level of difficulty, then make it harder so then you can feel it. I would like everyone to try being active and try the exercises that I recommended. Thank you for reading my blog post!