Autism and Exercise


Starting a home walking program is a great way to combine autism and exercise.

We had a wonderful Christmas season this year, filled with great food, a day at Grammy & Grampa's house, a visit from Santa Claus, and did I mention great food?

Combine autism and exercise slowly at first.Santa brought Lucas the new train that he wanted, along with the car from Back to the Future III, which has the train track wheels on it. Guess what he spent his Christmas vacation watching?

But 10 days of watching videos coupled with 10 days of fabulous food has resulted in a few extra pounds. So it's time to figure out how to combine autism and exercise.

It's hard to change the habits of someone with autism, and exercise isn't something that Lucas is fond of to begin with. I decided to try something simple, like a walking program.

The first step in introducing Lucas to anything new is to talk about it for about 3-5 days before beginning the new "thing".

I decided that we would start our new excercise program the same day he went back to school, January 3. So on December 30, I began telling Lucas that we were going to take walks.

I told him we could take them either before his school bus came in the morning, when he got home in the afternoon, or right after dinner at night. I let him make the choice of when to walk, so he would feel some control over the situation.

Lucas picked walking in the morning after "Sesame Street". He was reminded more frequently as the first day back to school approached, ending with a final reminder as he went to bed on January 2, the night before we took on autism and exercise.

A dog helps make autism and exercise work.January 3 arrived, and sure enough, after Elmo's World, we got our coats on and went outside. My goal was to just get Lucas comfortable with the idea of walking every school day.

I figured that once I accomplished that, I could focus on extending the length of our walks. But that first morning, we went all the way around the neighborhood! We did a mile in 15 minutes.

That night, I once again reminded Lucas that we would walk the next morning, and he immediately started groaning and whining. (Hey, he's a teenager, after all!)

Of course, I was ready for this phase of instituting a new routine in his life, as this is perfectly normal for someone with autism; exercise isn't something Lucas was used to, and a change in routine is very hard for an autistic person.

But we walked January fourth and fifth, and his protests have begun to lessen a little bit with each passing day. By the morning of January sixth, he seemed to accept that he would be walking.

I figure that by the end of the week, Lucas will be kind of looking forward to seeing the sky change color at sunrise, and hopefully, by next week, I won't hear any more complaints at all.

It will be fun to watch our tummies go back to normal, and to see Lucas become more aware of the seasons changing when winter becomes spring. Of course, I could be wrong; I'll let you know!

Autism and Exercise, part 2...

In January, we introduced autism and exercise by starting a walking program.

It was very hard for Lucas to get into it the first, but then I think he began to enjoy going. Exercise was becoming part of his "before school" routine.

Of course, God has a great sense of humor, so after two weeks of walking, Lucas and I had to take turns getting sick! For a week at a time, we were in bed with colds, or the flu.

Lucas exercises with his dog every day now.Then the weather turned absolutely friged; making an early morning (or even late afternoon, for that matter) walk downright dangerous, since we just haven't stocked up on down coats or mukluks this year...

So we've been NOT walking! But I'm telling Lucas that once the weather gets warmer, we're starting back up again.

In the meantime, I'm checking the classifieds for a mini-trampoline or a stationary bicycle.

Autism and Exercise, Success!

Well, we've discovered that the secret to combining autism and exercise is actually combining autism and a dog!

Guess who's now walking every morning? It's amazing how he enjoys it, now that he's doing it with his new dog, Dixie! YAY!!

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