What are the Different Exercises for Autistic Children?

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  • Written By: J. Mendi
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 20 December 2019
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For some children with disabilities such as autism, including physical activities into their daily lives can be a challenging feat. There are a variety of exercises for autistic children that can be quite advantageous during their developmental years, however. Exercises like jumping and skipping can help with coordination, while dancing and gymnastics help with balance. Team sports can also be beneficial, both with improving fitness and encouraging socialization.

Lack of coordination is one behavior typically associated with autism. Exercises for autistic children that can aid with this function include jumping, hopping, and skipping. Moving heavy items by pulling or pushing also appear to strengthen coordination. Light hand weights are usually good tools for children to lift and play with as well.

Balance stimulation and strengthening of motor function skills can normally be acquired by physical activity. Dancing and swaying in a back and forth motion while in a rocking chair are generally considered good balance promoting exercises for autistic children. On a sunny afternoon, an autistic child might enjoy playing on a swing set. Additional activities that often improve balance are cartwheels, somersaults, and dangling upside down from a slightly elevated surface like a tree branch or balance beam. Motor function skills can be enhanced by using both hands to catch and bounce two balls at the same time.


For developing new skills as an autistic child grows, playing with building blocks and construction toys may have its benefits. This can help with concentration and to sharpen attention span. Bicycle riding and swimming are dynamic exercises that may be fun for autistic children to partake in during nice weather. Furthermore, these activities are most likely to aid in positively impacting awareness and agility.

Walking, jogging, and running are good ways to keep autistic children physically fit. Some of the medications that autistic children may take can have weight gain side effects. Exercise will likely work to help keep the child at a healthy weight level. In addition, aerobic exercise may even reduce the occurrence of negative behavior consistent in some children with autism.

Participation in team sports can be of great value for any child, but can be especially important exercises for autistic children. Softball, basketball, and volleyball are not only exciting sports, they are activities that can improve an autistic child's social and physical development. When supervising their children, parents may want to partake in a few of the exercises too. This may make the activity more enjoyable for the child.

Exercise can be beneficial for children and adults of almost any age. It promotes healthy sleep patterns, aids in relieving stress, and helps keep the body in shape by boosting metabolism. Physical activity is usually introduced to children at a young age, most likely to teach them the importance of keeping the body active and the social interaction that goes hand in hand with team sports.


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