It is no secret that the number of people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASO) is steadily increasing throughout the world. This has negatively impacted participation in community programs such as recreational activities and youth sports because these individuals often have an impaired ability to relate and communicate with others socially.
While the causes of autism remain unknown and preventive measures haven’t been discovered, there are effective behavioral therapies that can bring about significant improvements for people with autism. These mainly focus on therapeutic choices such as sports and exercises aimed at developing social, communication and cognitive skills.
That said, here are some of the health benefits of sports for people with autism – Football.
It is no doubt that football is the most popular sport. Millions of people tune in to watch Sunday night football sling TV
every week. However, playing football and being a fan are two different things, which makes it important to enroll people with autism in the sport for physical and mental benefits.
These benefits include the following:
Football is one of the few sports that considers and develops a person’s (especially kids) abilities, interests and strengths. Studies have shown that people with autism who engage in vigorous exercises have improved their communication and social skills. Autism patients who successfully participate and excel in football have shown positive results when it comes to alleviating anxiety and trying new things. This boosts their self-confidence and independence, giving them the right energy for maintaining mature and liberal communications. As a life coach, I believe transparency is having every person communicate their interests for a better start in life.
PROMOTING WEIGHT LOSS.
For individuals with Autism, a sedentary lifestyle (especially one that includes too much time on electronic devices and gadgets), can aggravate ASD symptoms and lead to additional health problems such as motor impairment, obesity, and isolation.
By implementing and maintaining an active lifestyle, most people with autism will find it easy to maintain a healthier weight as they stay safe from other illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, joint and bone problems.
ATTENTION AND CONNECTION.
Studies have shown that autism patients who play football and engage in other sports that involve vigorous exercises have shown a significant decrease in stereotypic behaviors, aggression, destructiveness, and hyperactivity. The decrease in stereotypic behaviors and destructiveness improves attentiveness and connection in many people on the autism spectrum.
COOPERATION AND COMPASSION.
Even beyond the physical benefits, football enhances the patient’s well-being, social skills, and self-confidence which is key for cooperation and compassion. Football is known to create mutual cooperation between the coaches and players, which offers the best possible experience for people with autism.
When they engage in football and other sports programs they build social relationships with fellow players, work together to accomplish individual and collective goals, and build confidence. The participation also makes them realize their role in the society, which gives them a larger picture for a bright future.
In short, the health benefits of sports for people with autism goes beyond our imagination. Individuals on the spectrum who engage in regular sports have the benefit of improving their strength, cardiovascular fitness, balance and coordination, self-control, self-confidence, overall motor function, tactile, visual and auditory skills.
I know it may be difficult to put autism patient in the routine exercise in the beginning. But if you’re dedicated and ready to see them grow through it, they will gradually find it enjoyable and make it a routine.