Guest post from trainer Bradley Carter, CSCS
Should children with autism workout? Short answer is yes. All children should workout and be active starting at a young age. Children with autism have a much increased chance of becoming overweight or obese compared to their neuro-typical peers starting as early as two years old. In the United Stated over a third of children from the age of 2-17 on the autism spectrum are overweight. There are a variety of reasons for this, but one thing is certain, exercise will help and the earlier you start your child down a path of exercise and healthy living the more it will help them live long healthy lives.
Exercise doesn’t just help with physical health; mental health can be drastically improved through an exercise regime as well. Children with autism can benefit by having a reduction in self-stimulatory behavior, hyperactivity, and aggression as well self-injurious and destructive behaviors. The autism specific benefits of general exercise has been shown to be one of the best treatments for depression and anxiety, along with improved sleep quality.
A workout doesn’t have to be fancy or even very long; a brisk thirty-minute walk is a great place to start. Need some other ideas? Make sure to visit our YouTube channel for exercise demonstration videos. You may even see yours truly in some of them!
About the Author
Ryan Lockard, CSCS, CSPS is the founder and head trainer of Specialty Athletic Training and is accredited by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a Certified Special Populations Specialist. He is a member of the board of directors for the Autism Society of America and the Central Oregon Disability Support Network.