Sensory Workouts for People with Autism and ADHD

sensory workouts autism and adhd

Engaging in regular exercise provides a valuable outlet for individuals with Autism and ADHD, offering benefits beyond physical well-being. General exercise proves effective in managing hyperactivity, while sensory-specific workouts are tailored to address and reduce sensory sensitivity. These specialized workouts aim to create a harmonious balance by incorporating activities that cater to the unique sensory needs of individuals with Autism and ADHD. From activities promoting proprioception to those fostering vestibular stimulation, these sensory workouts contribute to a holistic approach to health and well-being for those navigating Autism and ADHD. Here are some sensory workouts for people with Autism and ADHD:

Sensory Workout #1: Swinging

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Swinging is not merely a beloved childhood activity; it can also serve as a noteworthy fitness routine for adults, notably working the abdominal muscles. This dynamic action of swinging back and forth pushes the abs and core to stabilize the body, thereby providing a different form of strength and endurance training.

Moreover, swinging is not just physical; it can also serve a mental and therapeutic role. For individuals diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or those on the Autism spectrum, swinging provides a unique sensory experience that aids their development and calmness. This unique combination of meditative motion and sensory input can help improve the focus, motor skills, and overall sensory perception of those with special needs.

As such, it would be highly beneficial to consider installing a swing in your backyard or indoor space. Having a swing readily available allows for easy access whenever you want to get in a quick workout or therapeutic session. It also offers the comfort of a familiar environment, which can be particularly valuable for individuals with special needs.

Sensory Workout #2: Playing Catch

Playing catch, while often seen as a traditional father-son bonding activity, holds far-reaching benefits beyond strengthening familial relationships. This seemingly effortless game offers an exceptional workout for the brain and body. It requires precise hand-eye coordination and rapid response times. Every throw and catch involves quick decision-making and accurate movement.

When it comes to fitness, the act of throwing and catching a ball promotes agility and flexibility. It enhances reflexes and sharpens fine motor skills, making it a fantastic cardiovascular workout. This in turn can help build muscle strength, improve cardiovascular health, and raise metabolic rates.

For individuals diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), playing catch could prove to be incredibly advantageous. It provides an engaging way to practice and improve motor skills. The repetition of movements in a relaxed, non-pressurized setting aids in the promotion of focus and the development of physical coordination. Catching a moving ball requires a high level of concentration and coordination that can help improve these essential skills in individuals with ADHD or Autism.

Sensory Workout #3: Hiking

Hiking is a wonderful sensory experience, regardless of the season or weather. Being in nature brings surprises around every corner and under every branch. Hiking is good cardio, but it can also be good for strength-training, depending on how much climbing is involved. The exercise and the adventure provide a delightful sensory exercise for people with ADHD and Autism.

Sensory Workout #4: Colorful Weightlifting

Lifting weights can seem tedious at first, but over time, you can develop a certain comforting rhythm in the exercise. Using colorful weights (especially those with varying shapes – like using a medicine ball or a kettlebell or barbells) can bring a visual experience to a tactile one. This variant makes this simple exercise a perfect sensory workout for those with ADHD and Autism.

Sensory Workout #5: Jogging with Noise-Canceling Headphones

Jogging is the gentler cousin of running. It allows you to move at your own pace, jump-starting your heart while enabling you to ration your energy for a longer distance. This simple exercise alone has been known to help those on the spectrum and with ADD or ADHD by releasing dopamine and centering the cerebellum. However, adding noise-canceling headphones to the exercise makes it an enticing sensory experience.

Sensory Workout #6: Swimming

Swimming is one of the best exercises you can do. It combines cardio with strength training in a fun, natural way. Just walking around in the pool can give you a healthier heart and mind. The water element, of course, is what makes these experience a sensory workout.

Engaging in swimming not only offers physical benefits but also becomes a sensory workout with its unique aquatic environment. The water provides a sensory-rich experience, enhancing the overall engagement of the mind and body. The combination of cardio and strength training in the pool adds a dynamic aspect to the workout, making it an enjoyable and effective way to promote a healthier lifestyle while addressing sensory needs.

More Sensory Workouts for People with Autism and ADHD

Continuing on the journey of incorporating sensory-friendly workouts, here are additional exercises tailored to benefit individuals with Autism and ADHD:

1. Yoga for Calmness

Yoga combines movement with controlled breathing, promoting relaxation and focus. It helps individuals with Autism and ADHD enhance body awareness and develop mindfulness, fostering a sense of calmness.

2. Trampoline Bouncing

Bouncing on a trampoline provides proprioceptive input, aiding in body awareness and coordination. This activity offers a fun and energizing way for individuals with Autism and ADHD to release excess energy.

3. Body Brushing for Tactile Stimulation

Body brushing involves gently brushing the skin with a soft brush to provide tactile stimulation. This activity can be incorporated into a sensory routine to promote sensory integration and reduce sensitivity.

4. Sensory Paths or Trails

Additionally, sensory paths or trails feature a variety of textures and activities on the ground, which creates a rich sensory environment. As a result, walking or moving along these paths encourages sensory exploration and engagement.

If you want to take your fitness journey to the next level, with a workout routine catered to your unique needs, look no further. Special Strong has a team filled with personal trainers who are knowledgeable about the unique symptoms of Autism and ADHD. We believe that fitness should be accessible to all, and we’re ready to help whenever you are! Sign up for one of our private training sessions or local group classes today.

Special Strong provides adaptive fitness for children, adolescents, and adults with mental, physical and cognitive challenges. Start your own Special Strong gym franchise today and create a lasting impact on your community.