to exercise or not to exercise...
"Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional and mental states."
Children need to exercise and we should encourage them to do so. Children with autism though may need a bit more encouragement unless it's something they're passionate about.
I've done some reading and apparently vigorous activity helps manage behaviours, such as hyperactivity in children with autism. It also helps children engage more in the environment, along with the usual benefit of promoting good health overall...and that's what we want right?
But here’s the thing with my son, unless it includes swimming or dancing and jumping up and down to music, he's usually not interested in exercising, sports or any other physical activity.
He recently surprised me though....and he does that a lot, by the way. 😄
I had decided to go on my treadmill, and while I was on it he came over and asked me if he could have a turn... In my head I danced and I screamed "YASSSS!” but in actuality I responded “of course you can!”
I jumped on that very spontaneous request and interest, asked him to put on his sneakers and taught him how to use the treadmill.
It was an amazing feeling watching him walk on that treadmill, working out the balance, attempting to let go of the handles.
Now that I know he is interested, even if it's only a slight interest, my plan is to use that interest to encourage more physical activity. I’ve found that when I do that it makes things so much easier because my son is motivated to do what I’m telling him to do.
But even though he's motivated and excited and now therefore I am, I have to stay calm, I have to plan properly and remind myself that he may lose interest. My role here is not to be an overzealous personal trainer, my role here is to be mom, to stay calm and promote a safe environment for my son and as with anything I’m introducing for the first time I have to be supportive and positive and always always use encouraging words.
So here’s our summer exercise plan:
We’ll continue exploring the treadmill, increasing speed and incline when he’s comfortable and then we’ll add these exercises:
1. Jumping Jacks
2. Star jumps
3. Bear claws annnnnd
4. Burpees....nah I’m just kidding why would I inflict such torture on my son! 🤣
We’ll definitely start off slowly, maybe only five reps per exercise but the most important thing is that it will be fun at all times...no pressure whatsoever. I want him to love exercise and I want it to be a part of his daily routine because I strongly believe that being active could improve his coping skills, and definitely enhance his overall quality of life.
Do you have any specific goals for your children this summer? If you do, stay strong, and GOOD LUCK!
Hi, I am Francene...aka @drummerboysmom on Instagram and drummerboyZmom on twitter. I'm an over 40 expat mommy raising a daughter with an old soul and a son with autism in beautiful Jamaica.