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25 February | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

How physical activities are important for individuals with autism

‘Individuals with autism spectrum disorder deal with deficiencies in motor skill and eye hand coordination. They are hyper reactive to sensory input such as pain, sound, texture and light’

Recent researches highlighted importance of physical activities for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Exercise not only helps improve physical health but also provides a range of benefits for keeping their sensory systems in balance, mental well-being and social interaction. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in fifty four children in the United States is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder – a neurodevelopmental disorder that effects social interaction, communication and repetitive and restricted behaviors. While the condition varies widely in its severity and symptoms.

Each person with autism spectrum disorder has individualized set of symptoms and characteristics for which individualized programs are required. This is especially needed for physical activity programs. The physical activities has been found to be a useful tool in managing the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. It has been proved that physical training improves motor skills, strengthens the muscles, and endurance in individuals with autism. Individuals with autism spectrum disorder deal with deficiencies in motor skill and eye hand coordination. They are hyper reactive or hypo reactive to sensory input such as pain, sound, texture and light.

Physical activities has been shown to improve these conditions as well as reduce maladaptive behaviors such as temper tantrum, passive – aggressive behavior and sleep problems. Additionally, it has been found to reduce anxiety, improve mood, and boost self-esteem. Researches has shown physical activities increase release of endorphins and monoamine neurotransmitters which improves sleep, appetite and improve overall mental health. It also help them deal with physical and emotional challenges. The physical activities regulates cardiovascular health and improves immune system.

Experts recommend 60 minutes of physical activities each day for people with autism spectrum disorder

Moreover, physical activities can also help people with autism spectrum disorder develop social skills. Participating in group activities such as sports, dance, or martial arts can provide opportunities for social interaction, which is often challenging for those with autism spectrum disorder. It teaches self-discipline, socializing and helps with attention and concentration. All the physical activities develops better coordination, body balance and spatial awareness. Also, it can help them learn how to wait in a queue, take turns, follow rules, and communicate effectively with others.

Experts recommend that people with autism spectrum disorder should engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activities each day, including both structured and unstructured activities. The structured activities may include participation in sports or exercise classes, while unstructured activities may involve playing in the park, riding a bike, or swimming. However, it is essential to note that physical activity programs for individuals with autism spectrum disorder should be tailored to meet their specific needs. For instance, some may have sensory issues or difficulty with coordination, which may require modifications to the activities.

Physical activities has reduce maladaptive behaviors such as temper tantrum, and sleep problems
Physical activities has reduce maladaptive behaviors such as temper tantrum, and sleep problems

In conclusion, physical activities plays a crucial role in the management of autism spectrum disorder. Engaging in regular exercise can not only improve physical health but also provide benefits for mental well-being and social interaction. The physical activity programs not only improves stereotypical behaviors and help them deal with sensory sensitivities. It also make them more independent and maximize their quality of life. Therefore, it’s important to encourage people with autism spectrum disorder to engage in physical activities and ensure that they have access to suitable programs and resources to help them stay active.

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