Autism, Family, and Rocks: Exercise to a Perma-Smile!
I had perma-smile for at least an hour–and this was while I was totally getting my ass kicked!
Have you ever tried to punch and kick a punching bag for three minutes straight?
I just did this for the first time about two weeks ago and let me tell you what, there is nothing easy about it except for the first punch.
I joined a gym and I am getting in shape this summer with my self-created boot camp (I go to a class at my new UFC gym five days a week for 4 weeks). I have asked the staff there to please sign my very high-tech boot camp schedule sheet as shown here, which they wonderfully agreed to do. 🙂
I’m on my third week when this is published and I’m doing great. I made it through the first two weeks of pain where my muscles were all, “WHOA NELLY, What do you even THINK you’re doing to us?” Ibuprofen wouldn’t even touch that pain, but it’s just part of the process to getting where I want to go.
So as I’m feeling so good mentally and finally physically, I wanted to find the bridge between my own wonderful feelings of getting in shape and the physical benefits of all our friends on the spectrum. What does that look like?
I found this article from Autism Speaks outlining the difficulties of physical activity while sharing the benefits.
So then guess what happened (because this is how my life goes)?!?! My gym hosted a “Family Fun Day!”
I was going to bring my kids to watch a workout anyway because they’ve been asking what I do at the gym. I wanted to show them and the people at the gym said that would be perfectly fine. But what a perfect opportunity to have them do it rather than just watch.
I love every trainer there and Mark is no exception and he’s the one who led our Family Fitness Day. He’s tough, motivating, and he keeps each workout interesting and difficult, but completely doable. He’ll often say, “Don’t quit on me now – keep going!” Which I love because I know he wants me to succeed (and so do I).
Guess what happened when my kids joined me for this full hour workout?
They ended up with perma-smile! It was such an elated feeling to see them doing it, running faster than me, learning how to do the exercises, and keeping up the entire time! They both beat me in the sprints (I’m so slow it’s amazing, but once I’m more in shape I’ll be able to beat them in stamina).
How can you get started?
Well, in this article, you’ll find some exercises that might help people of all ages on the autism spectrum, depending on their physical abilities.
What I have done and what the classes at my gym teach, is to do each exercise for one minute and then rest for one minute. I think it might be great to start with 30 seconds because I think we all need to start small and slow if you haven’t done it yet.
I use the timer on my mobile phone and hopefully your kids can help with that part as well. I’d love to see that your whole family starts doing this, we’re having such great success and I’ve heard Michael say things like, “I love that we’re doing all of this physical fitness together.”
And don’t underestimate the benefits to YOURSELF!!! Cuz guess who needs the happy juices flowing through their body? You do! I do! We all do! Yay!
Whether you’re on the spectrum or not, I believe every person on the planet needs to do physical activity – more than what they’re doing now unless they’re rock stars in shape. And then reaching up to doing 30 minutes or more at least 5 days/week would be amazing.
Getting started and just doing it…
You can mimick these exercises that I created while on a camping trip with rocks. I have found that physical exercise can be totally fun and it can be done ANYWHERE!
I highly recommend everyone warms up for a few minutes while standing in place and doing a light jog or funky dance. Funky dancing always gets everyone in the mood I think. 🙂
You put the timer on for 30 seconds if that’s where you’re going to start (to start the whole exercise program in general, I keep the time while my kids are doing the exercises). You go as hard and as much as you can for the 30 seconds and when that is done you announce “done” and everyone switches to the next “station” or “exercise.”
As soon as everyone is set for the next station, you get started on the next exercise for 30 seconds.
Note: I am NOT a personal trainer and any exercises should be done after consulting with a physician or physical therapist. 🙂
This is the gym where I’ve been working out and loving it (tell them Mica from Mattews sent you!). If you’re ready, feel free to join the fun – but mostly, feel free to join in the healthy modeling our kids and everyone we touch will benefit from, but mostly ourselves. 🙂
Here’s to our best selves and thank you so much for reading. I hope you get out there and get physical!
Note: A huge Thank You to my two models for these exercises – but typical kids Mason (long haired boy) and step-daughter Tess. They’re gorgeous! 🙂
Note-Note: If you’re having great luck with physical activity and you’re on the spectrum or are parenting someone on the spectrum, please share on Facebook! I’d LOVE to learn more about this as I’m just getting started.
Note-Note-Triple Note: I’m not in any way qualified to be a professional for physical activity. I know what I know based on my experience and own children, but don’t have any qualified training. But what can go wrong with picking up a rock and being physical!?! 🙂
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