Why Fitness and Exercise Is Great For Children And Adults In The Spectrum
President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle have focused considerable energies on their fitness initiative, designed to get people to pay attention to the importance of physical fitness and healthy eating habits. Referred to as “The President’s Challenge,” this program has turned some attentions toward a whole range of ways that people can participate in their own fitness and wellbeing. Kids and adults in the Autism spectrum are no exception, as they need active lifestyles and can gain the same benefits from fitness as others.
It has been shown that fitness can be fun, and does not have to be structured. Fitness classes for those with Autism can provide those with the challenge opportunities to exercise while still getting something that’s critical for many of their success – regular routine.
Even if team sports are out of the question for those with Autism, classes can give them the chance to learn, play, improve motor skills and have fun at the same time. Movement can help with a whole host of problems, including gastrointestinal disorders. Some people with Autism are challenged with poor diets, which leads to GI troubles.
Studies show that the memory can improve with exercise, the actual functioning of the brain can be enhanced and coordination becomes better. Those hidden gains are added on top of the other more obvious benefits; such as burning calories (which can lead to weight loss), improvement of overall mood and enhancement of energy level.
The Presidential Challenge encourages people to exercise in order to gain a sense of well-being, a healthier heartrates and strong bones. For those with Autism, they mention another side benefit – a better social life. The President’s fitness and exercise website emphasizes that staying healthy and active is a great way to make new friends, have fun, and spend quality time with your family members. Those with Autism typically have some level of social challenge so your personal fitness training expert should help you create fitness goals that are simple and straightforward, such as playing soccer with friends for 60 minutes a week.
This list includes things outside of the normal exercise spectrum such as leaf raking, dog walking, playing tag, jumping jacks, using a push mower rather than a riding lawnmower and others.
Stephen Edelson, in writing about physical exercise and autism on Autism.com indicates that exercise can improve sleep and reaction time and reduce anxiety and stress. He writes that when the exercise is vigorous enough, it can even allay signs of depression. He pointed out that “one should never assume that children get adequate exercise during recess at school”. Edelson also offered advice about the practice of medicating those with Autism by stating, “Since exercise is inexpensive, safe, and healthful, it makes sense to try an exercise program to reduce behavior problems rather than to use more expensive and possibly harmful treatments, such as drugs.” Most of all, follow practical fitness and personal training tips, and make exercise fun!