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4 Workouts That Reduce Behaviors in Children With Special Needs

workouts that reduce behaviors in children with special needs

Children with special needs are experiencing a lot of feelings and sensations that are difficult for them to interpret or express. Sometimes a feeling can be so strong that it’s overwhelming. It can cause your child to act out – sometimes even making them feel cornered enough to hit a playmate, a sibling or you. If you’re considering medicating your child, or if you need something to serve as a companion solution to medication, try out these 4 workouts that reduce behaviors in children with special needs:

1. Medicine Ball Slam

In an interview with Achievement Center of Texas, Special Strong founder and personal trainer Daniel Stein said that a great exercise that helps reduce behaviors was a medicine ball slam. A medicine ball slam exercise takes place when a client holds a medicine ball in both of their hands, raises it above their head and slams it down on a mat. This exercise engages so many different muscles in the body, such as the triceps, abdomen, glutes, quads and more. The exercise succeeds in wearing the client out. This makes them less likely to act out physically in the coming hours or even days.

2. Punching Bag

It’s important to teach your child with special needs that it’s not OK to hit people, but it is OK to hit a punching bag. It would be a great idea to have a punching bag set up in a designated area within your home. This way, your child will have a safe place to experience his or her feelings without hurting others. What’s more: This is a great workout. It involves cardio, and it engages muscles in the arms and the abdomen.

3. Team Sports

Team sports are a great way to teach your child with special needs to see others as valuable and to simultaneously work out their feelings. They’re also a game, so your child doesn’t have to view exercise as a “class” or “lesson.” They’ll have fun with their friends, they’ll wear themselves out and they’ll be less likely to act out as a result.

Check out your community’s or city’s website to see what special needs sports are available for your child. You might be able to sign him or her up for baseball or softball, basketball, soccer or more. Physical special needs are also usually taken into account with team sports like these.

4. Scheduled Exercise or Playtime

Creating a consistent routine for your child with special needs can help discourage impulsive behavior. Scheduling exercise can help your child know that they can release their pent up frustrations at a specific time, and scheduled playtime can let them know that they are guaranteed the time to play at a specific time as well. It’s important to get 30 minutes of physical exercise (through rigorous play or working out) two or three times a week to see improvements in behavior.

At Special Strong, we have personal trainers who understand what your child is going through. We understand that a standard workout routine may help your child improve their physique, but we’re also focused on improving your child’s behavior and attention span. If your child is eight years old or older, try out a few personal training sessions through our 7-day FREE trial. See the difference for yourself today before committing to anything.


Special Strong provides fitness and nutrition for special needs children, adolescents, and adults with autism and other disabilities. Through our online training platform, we also provide special needs fitness certification courses for personal trainers and service providers who want to work autism and other disabilities.

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