5 Reasons Why Fitness Helps!
1. Reduce Stereotypical Behaviors – Studies have shown that children that engage in vigorous exercise (20 minutes or more, 3 to 4 days a week) have shown a decrease in stereotypical (self-stimulation) behaviors, hyperactivity, aggression, self-injury, and destructiveness. This is not something that happens over night but in due time you will start seeing improvements in your child.
2. Improving Social Skills – Children on the spectrum have a harder time engaging with their peers in a social setting. This could be due to anxiety, inability to read social cues, low self-esteem, decreased verbal communication, etc. When children engage in sports programs they build social relationships with teammates, work with others to accomplish goals, and build confidence. Sports participation also allows children to feel like they have a role in society and be part of a team, which they may not have felt before.
3. Establishing A Routine – As many professionals and parents of children on the spectrum know routines are incredibly important for children. Children with Autism tend to perform repeated self-stimulation behaviors because it provides comfort that they are familiar with. By implementing physical activity slowly into a child’s life so that their transition into a new routine is important. Find an activity that your child enjoy’s like a long walk or a sport they may find fun and introduce it into your child’s routine.
4. Promote Weight Loss – Autism is related to a higher chance of early childhood obesity, which can lead to a greater chance that obesity can turn into more sever illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, bone and joint problems. Children with Autism tend to live more inactive lifestyles, which in turn makes it harder for them to maintain a healthier weight. By implementing an active lifestyle at a younger age, exercising becomes a part of your child’s routine to maintaining a healthier weight.
5. Improve Attention – Many children on the Autism spectrum have trouble staying attentive not only in the classroom but also at home. One reason for the decrease in attention among children on the spectrum is due to their stereotypical behaviors that become a distraction. By increasing their exercise it will help decrease their stereotypical behaviors and improve attention. In addition, having your child join a sport will also help them work together with others and improve listening to directions to accomplish the teams goals.
How To Get Your Child Active
At time it may be difficult to start your child in the routine to exercise but slowly introducing activities that they find enjoyable will help break them into exercising. In the beginning it would help to take them for long walks to get them used to being active in a comfortable environment. In addition, finding sports that they love and have interest in really helps set them into a routine.
Garrett's Fight For Fitness has beginner programs for those that would like to get started but not sure how!