Skip to main content

Exercising and Autism

The 5 Best Types of Exercise for Moving with Autism

Exercise has amazing health benefits for everyone but it can be especially helpful for autistic people. That's because it helps them carry out everyday tasks and allows them to live more independently. "In the autism population, it is very common to see deficits in primary foundational movements, like squatting, pushing, pulling and carrying," says Eric Chessen, founder of Autism Fitness. “This is largely due to differences in neuromuscular functioning."

However, following a regular exercise routine helps build skills for functionally sound movement and can help prevent disability in the future. Additionally, working out has brain benefits for those with autism. Exercise improves cognitive function, making it easier to retain information and maintain attention span.

"Exercise also reduces anxiety and stress, which is important because individuals with autism tend to have higher stress levels," says Mark Fleming, a trainer with autism and founder of Equally Fit. "People with autism also often have sleep disorders and exercise helps improve sleep"

When you're figuring out a workout routine, don't get carried away with variety. But in the meantime, these five types of exercise are a great place to start:

  • Motor Planning Exercises;
  • Functional Strength Training;
  • Balance Training;
  • Indoor Cycling; and
  • Yoga.

"A limited number of exercises will have the greatest effect," Chessen says. "Most people thrive with consistency." A fitness professional can help you incorporate in new or different moves over time, so your routine stays varied and you can continue to progress toward your fitness goals.

Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. A professional can also help you decide which exercises are best for you to start with if you're new to fitness, only have a limited amount of time to exercise or find it easiest to focus on a handful of moves.

To access the full article on the best exercises for autistic individuals, click here.

In partnership with the YMCA, Hally Health focuses on a variety of topics aimed at people of any age or fitness level who want to stay healthy and active. Try this Kickboxing workout that’s sure to get your heart pumping. To view all our YMCA partnership fitness videos throughout the month, please visit or

Useful links:

  1. The Benefits of Exercise for Autism: Mind & Body - Special Strong
  2. Physical Fitness | Autism Speaks