I just watched this video ‘Gymnast with autism competes on national stage’:
Look at that little champ go! I love seeing autistic children find their passion, especially when it helps their social skills so much.
It got me thinking though...I know first hand that gymnastics is excellent for those hyperactive children amongst us - I’ve done it myself, I’ve coached such children in gymnastics/cheerleading, and even Olympic champion Simone Biles has ADHD - but I think that many sports can be really beneficial for autistic individuals as they help with coordination difficulties, forming social bonds, and forming a safe space where you don’t feel disabled. What does everyone else think? Have you done sports and did you have a positive or negative experience with them?
I play rugby and it's brilliant. I find that socialising is much easier if it has a purpose or is based around an activity, and of course there are all the added benefits of fitness, teamwork & discipline among others. I'd recommend it!
Some people who are autistic have very good coordination - we are people of extremes.
I do tai chi, which is a form of exercise rather than a sport (although some of its martial applications such as push-hands would qualify as a sport), and I find it excellent for relieving any stress and anxiety I may have although these are a lot lower these days than they used to be.
Sport and exercise are not my thing.
I have motor difficulties as a result of my autism, so I have never been any good at any kind of physical activity. I'm naturally slow at physical movement, as well as being extremely clumsy and having very little spatial awareness.
At school, I was absolutely terrible at sport. Couldn't throw, catch, hit or run.Since leaving school I've tried a variety of exercise options. I can't do any kind of exercise class because I can't watch someone else doing any kind of move, even a basic one, and work out how to copy it myself. I tried running for years, but could never improve my pace or stamina beyond even the lowest of beginner levels.
So, I've learned to incorporate fitness into my daily life, rather than doing exercise. I enjoy walking and I have an active job, which for me is now enough.
Glad to hear you also find enjoyment in sport. I agree with the socialising being easier in that sort of setting - my sports are my entire social life!
Well I’m an odd one really - I am very clumsy in some ways i.e. I can’t throw and catch a ball, I walk into things all the time, I’m very slow to pick up new movements - but it seems that once I’ve mastered something it sticks.
It’s good that you have found tai chi to be beneficial for your stress and anxiety. I did used to run to help with mine but I currently have an injury that means I can’t which has been hard.
Yes, I suppose I should have been more general and asked if people found exercise (not necessarily sport) to be beneficial.
As with NTs, it’s definitely not something for everyone, and I appreciate that your coordination difficulties make sports something that is very challenging for you.
But it’s great that you’ve still found your own ways to stay fit - walking certainly counts as exercise, and if you enjoy it that’s even better, and an active job is more than I manage!
I hated most sports at school, because I was hopeless at them. Anything which involved catching a ball was particularly bad, as I would invariably miss it, or sometimes get hit in the face. Thank goodness dodgeball wasn't on the curriculum, because it would have been my personal nightmare.
However, I did quite enjoy running, and I've taken up jogging in an effort to lose weight. The saying "use it or lose it" really hit home when I reached my 50's, and began "losing it" at a worrying rate. I go out when it's quiet, on my own, and enjoy the solitude as well as the exercise. I find it's a good opportunity to think, as well.
I agree with you regarding ball sports, though unfortunately I did have to endure dodgeball at school. Naturally I hated it, and there is a very good reason why I chose not to pursue any sports that included balls as my hobbies...
I understand what you mean about solitude and opportunity to think when running - I often enjoyed a run when I was feeling very anxious or depressed as it invariably helped me to process things.