The benefits of exercise for people with ASD

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Several studies have shown that vigorous or strenuous Physical exercise is an excellent treatment for behaviours associated with ASD.  Stephen M. Edelson, Ph.D. wrote that a 20-minute or longer aerobic workout, 3 to 4 days a week has been directly associated with a reduction in self stimulatory behaviours, hyperactivity, aggression, self injury and destructive behaviours. A study on the link between autism, depression and suicidal tendencies found that “the percentage of children rated by their parents as “sometimes” to “very often” contemplating or attempting suicide was 28 times greater for those with autism than those with typical development”. When considering the strong link between Autism and depression the benefits of exercise can improve both physical and mental health. Keeping exercise interesting is a proven method of maintaining interest, using the interests of a person with ASD to promote positive health will reap rewards. Dancing to music, playing basketball, soccer or tennis will provide enough exercise even fast walking, playing jump rope or tag can provide beneficial exercise. Mild exercise will have very little effect on behaviour so exercises that require constant activity (cycling for example) can be quite effective for people who are not as interested in physical exercise.


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