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Unified CrossFit Billings classes teach Special Olympics athletes importance of movement

Unified CrossFit Billings classes teach Special Olympics athletes importance of movement
Posted at 10:12 AM, Sep 12, 2023

BILLINGS — The Fit 5 classes at CrossFit Billings focus on teaching Yellowstone Valley Special Olympics athletes to move safely and efficiently, while also gaining endurance and strength.

The coach, Chesney Walker, is getting her doctorate in occupational therapy at Rocky Mountain College and first started the classes in late August for a class project.

Unified CrossFit Billings classes teach Special Olympics athletes importance of movement

"Exercise has actually been proven to help with a lot of things, not just mentally but also physically as well. Doing those daily occupations, having the strength and endurance to do the things you want to do throughout the day," Walker said.

Walker has created a welcoming space while teaching four classes a week.

Unified CrossFit Billings classes teach Special Olympics athletes importance of movement

“Seeing them progress, too, and have fun with workouts, it’s the best just watching them enjoy it,” she said.

During the class on Monday, the athletes learned how certain exercises can help with everyday activities. The box steps they were doing were compared to walking up the stairs.

For athlete Tom Moody, his favorite exercise was the burpees because it reminded him of the sport played in high school.

“Yeah, I used to do that in football. I used to play football,” Moody said. “I love working out almost every day.”

Hannah Rogers preferred doing the strict press exercise.

Unified CrossFit Billings classes teach Special Olympics athletes importance of movement
Hannah Rogers demonstrates her favorite exercise from Monday morning's class.

"It’s better for me and it’s better for my arms,” she said.

The classes are inclusive, so Denise Heinzman joined her son, Nickadoums, during the workout.

“It’s a great program to keep the athletes fit and strong for all of the events that they do,” Denise said.

Nickadoums enjoys the workouts Walker has them do and likes learning to “keep motivated and keep healthy with water.”

The classes will be running through the week of Oct. 13 and athletes 18 and older are welcome to still join.