Nutrition, Exercise, and Mental Health During COVID-19

Dr. Vicari Erwin-Wilson, who has her Doctor of Medicine from the University of Florida, is a board-certified family physician in Tallahassee, Florida. Throughout her career, Dr. Erwin-Wilson has been encouraging patients to take care of their bodies, both physically and mentally. However, this has become even more important over the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this post, Dr. Erwin-Wilson gives advice on how to stay physically and mentally healthy during this unprecedented time.

Photo of Dr. Erwin-Wilson“Be sure to do something you enjoy, because smiling and feeling happy has been proven to improve the immune response and overall well-being.”

One important aspect of staying healthy is through adequate nutrition. With a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition, Dr. Erwin-Wilson is passionate about eating a proper diet and encouraging others to do so. One of her favorite healthy meals to cook is salmon with broccoli and brown rice. Dr. Erwin-Wilson believes food can greatly impact a person’s health. To help boost the immune system, she recommends getting adequate protein (from things such as lean meats, eggs, fish, nuts, and beans) and eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. The dark green, orange, yellow, and purple vegetables have specific chemicals called phytonutrients that pump up the immune system.  One way she suggests getting a balanced diet is by having “a good variety by eating a rainbow of colors.”

Read More

Leadership Spotlight: Jeff Douglas

In 1991 while Jeffery (Jeff) Douglas was working at the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) at Florida State University, FDOA founder David Jones reached out to him in hopes of getting students with disabilities involved in recreation. Jeff has been participating and volunteering with FDOA ever since. Throughout the years, Jeff’s favorite FDOA event has been SportsAbility. He served as an advisory board member since August 2003 and joined the board of directors as the Director at Large in November 2020.

Photo of Jeff Douglas
Jeff's Idea of the perfect world

“Where there is a true concern for peace, patience, respect for each other without judging, and love.”

 

Read More

The Importance of Promoting the Participation of Children with Disabilities in Sports and Tips to Implement it at Home

An important part of childhood is participating in sports. Most of us grew up playing baseball, basketball or soccer with our friend from their neighborhood. Physical activity provides many benefits for children, including those with disabilities. According to the Institute on Disability/UCED, approximately 7% of the US population accounts for children with disability. However, there is a lack of opportunities for their participation in recreational sports and physical activities. In recent years, many efforts have been made from different international organizations to try to close this gap and create more opportunities. Despite these efforts, an increasing number of children with disabilities have reported low levels of cardiorespiratory strength, less muscular endurance, and higher rates of obesity than typical children.

Benefits of sport participation

The main reason to participate in sports is to increase physical activity to help reverse impaired mobility, optimize physical functioning, and increase overall well-being. Playing sports plays a fundamental role in the maintenance of normal muscle strength, flexibility and a better joint structure and function. Good levels of muscular strength and endurance help increase bone mass, reduce injuries from falls, and provide a greater ability to complete daily activities.
By participating in sports children can leave behind a sedentary lifestyle that leads to obesity and other health complications. Sports participation also enhances the psychological well-being of children with disabilities; it provides opportunities to make friends, be creative, develop self-identity and live a more meaningful life. For example, Special Olympics athletes show better self-esteem, physical competence, and peer acceptance when compared with non-participants. Finally, participation in regular physical activity can foster independence, coping abilities, competitiveness, and teamwork among children with disabilities.

Read More

Leadership Spotlight: Bliss Wilson

Bliss Wilson currently serves as the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association board secretary. Bliss graduated in 2019 from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology. Since becoming a part of the team in 2015, Bliss has provided crucial support with all FDOA programs and devoted her time as a volunteer for Miracle Sports and SportsAbility.

Photo of Bliss Wilson
Inclusion means...

"To me, inclusion is when each person feels welcomed and accepted."

After participating in Youth Leadership Tallahassee in 2015, Bliss’s journey with FDOA began as she was placed on the board. Having volunteered with organizations that served people with disabilities, Bliss felt that “the FDOA board was the perfect fit” for her and her interests. She started as a junior board member, and has worked her way up to becoming secretary. Also, Bliss began volunteering at multiple events organized by FDOA and found joy in providing sports opportunities for all.

Read More

Leadership Spotlight: Kevin Taylor

Kevin Taylor serves as the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association’s Communications and Marketing Director. Kevin is a military veteran, a graduate of Tallahassee Community College with a degree in Drafting and Design, and a small business owner. With a background in assisting non-profits with design, digital marketing, and systems improvement, Kevin has been instrumental in implementing FDOA’s virtual programs in 2020.

photo of Kevin Taylor
Favorite FDOA Program...

“The focus of the ALLOUT program is to get people into nature with a since of adventure. That is the kind of experience I like to have.”

When Kevin found FDOA in 2019, he was searching for a way to apply his marketing and communication skills to “something that felt meaningful.” He said finding FDOA was “divine timing” because “the past year has been tumultuous, and my digital marketing skills have been put to use by FDOA to continue to fulfill their mission.”

Read More

Mindfulness

photo of Reilly HowardLife is crazy. In the blink of an eye, everything can change. That’s how fast things move- in the blink of an eye. As lovers of sport and recreation, its easy to understand the appeal of a fast-moving lifestyle. Though this begs the question, what happens when things move too fast? Sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the breakneck pace of the world around us. When the physical world gets to be too much, we often attempt to retreat into our own minds. Yet just as often, people are met with an unsettling amount of anxiety and stressful thoughts within the mind. Enter the practice of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is seemingly the buzzword of the late 2010s. Every fitness guru, professional athlete, and social media influencer is seemingly screaming “you have to practice mindfulness!” from the top of their lungs. Sure, that’s all fine and well, but what exactly is mindfulness? This term can be defined as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” (Jaret, et.al, 2020). Mindfulness is essentially finding peace and quiet in one's own mind. It sounds simple enough, sure. Yet remember those unsettling thoughts I talked about earlier? Well, how in the world are we supposed to find peace and quiet inside our own mind with those there? The answer is mindfulness.

Read More

Leadership Spotlight: Kristy Carter

Kristy Carter - FDOA Board MemberKristy Carter has been volunteering with FDOA since 1997, when she got involved through a class project at Florida State University. She is active in all FDOA events, including Miracle Sports and SportsAbility. Her favorite FDOA event is SportsAbility, about which she said, “That is how I got hooked. The variety of programs offered and the amount of people that it can serve.” She worked as the Inclusion Specialist for FDOA from 2007 to 2011. Kristy has been on FDOA’s board since 2003. She served as the board secretary from 2011 to 2018 and has served as the vice-president since 2018.

Inclusion means...

“ALL people no matter abilities. Each individual would be respected and valued in society.”

Outside of FDOA, Kristy has worked as the Assistant Program Supervisor at the City of Tallahassee Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Affairs since 2012. She received her bachelor’s degree in Recreation and Leisure Services Administration from FSU and is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). She specializes in training and advocacy within the Tallahassee and surrounding communities.

Read More

Adding Some Quality Outdoors Time

Photo of Amanda Cover, FDOA Intern (Summer 2020)It can be easy to get caught up in your tasks for the day and not set aside some time for you to relax and connect with nature. If you work from home, you may never step outside some days if you do not section off part of your day to intentionally do so.

I have found recently that even just 30 minutes at the park is a good break point in my day to let me step away from work for a short time and get some exercise outdoors.

Read More

Accessible Transportation & Recreation

On Wednesday (September 2, 2020), FDOA presented the video below to the Accessible Transportation for Florida Town Hall event present by The Able Trust. It is so important that we consider recreation when planning accessible transportation. 

Executive Director's Message - August 2020

Miracle Sports - Fall 2020

Those of you that are not in Tallahassee may not know about our Miracle Sports program. Since 2008, we have played just about every Thursday night on an accessible surface. The games are adapted so everyone can play and benefit from team sports. We have had so much fun!

This fall, we have some new ideas so more people can join in. With the help of our interns and Florida State University Sport Management students and Florida International University Therapeutic Recreation students,  we have some awesome new things on the horizon. The following will be offered on our Facebook page and you will not need to register:

Read More

Fodder from the Founder - August 2020

It’s a Thirty-year anniversary celebration!  The Americans with Disabilities Act created the law, but it’s been people who have changed the World.  The passing of the ADA in 1990, provided the legislation that makes it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities.  That opened the doors for people who care, to push for establishing the specific laws, codes, regulations, and guidelines that we follow to help enable equal access and inclusion into Society.

This civil rights law has created “opportunities to participate” and have changed the lives of everyone.  The Florida Disabled Outdoors Association is also celebrating our 30 years of caring and change through our advocacy and action.  

Read More

St Marks Refuge Adds Additional Lands and Opportunities

The St. Marks Natural Wildlife Refuge has offered hunters with a mobility impairment a section of land near Sopchoppy, FL to hunt White-tailed deer for many years. This approximately 3,800 acre parcel of refuge is virgin territory to rifles and trucks before the hunt.  Mobility impaired hunters get to fire the first gunshot of the season in these woods.

The Friday hunt meeting at 3:30 pm before the Saturday opener is always like a family meal with cousins you haven't seen in a while. They draw names out of a hat for stand locations and the tension builds as pins get placed at the known "spots". Whispers from the crowd let you know when the best spot gets claimed. Rules on driving the roads, stand hours, and government regulations are showered on the whole group before people disappear down their road. Each hunter is allowed a companion hunter and the bag limits must be shared. 

Read More

Positivity in Uncertainty

photo of Amanda CoverIt is extremely easy to find the negative aspects of being confined to your home with limited outings. However, I have found two main benefits to working remotely from my house: time and reduction of expenses.

Time

It’s something we all wish we could extend. Like many others, this situation has allowed me to work remotely. I have had the opportunity to spend more time with my family because I am not commuting to and from an office daily. One way to take advantage of this newly gained time is to insert regular exercise into your schedule. It is incredibly easy to stay inside and be inactive during this time, but it is even more important now to find new ways to remain active. You may have been attending fitness classes or participating in group sports, but you can find ways to exercise at home and use that previously committed time for something else. I have been able to eat nightly meals (and occasional lunches) with my family which was abnormal for us when everyone had their own outside commitments.

Read More