There are many interventions based around physical exercise. Some of those activities may be very energetic (such as trampolining) while others may be less energetic (such as tai chi).
Specific interventions which include some form of physical exercise or activity include:
Standard health care practices in which exercise is a key component: Includes physiotherapy.
Sports-based activities which uses aerobic/strenuous exercise: Includes cycling and running.
Mind-body interventions: Includes martials arts such as karate and mind-body exercises such as yoga.
Creative and expressive arts therapies in which movement is a key component: Includes dance movement therapy.
Animal-assisted interventions and therapies in which movement may be a key component: Includes dolphin therapy, equine assisted interventions and therapies
Other interventions in which physical activity is a significant component: Includes daily life therapy, the Dore programme, the Miller method.
In this section, we concentrate on those interventions based on physical exercise which are not covered elsewhere on this website, specifically some sports-based interventions, some marital arts and and some approaches which use mind-body exercises.
Please note: Some of the exercises in this section fall into more than one of these categories. For exampl, tai chi is both a mind-body exercise and a martial art.
Determining the benefits of interventions based on physical exercise for autistic people is difficult because it includes such a wide range of practices. We must wait for further research of sufficiently high quality to be completed
Many interventions based on physical exercise , such as tai chi, appear to be relatively safe as they rely on slow, careful movements. However some interventions based on physical exercise, such as trampolining, may pose some risks to a small number of people:
There is a wide range of sports-based interventions which are based on the principle of strenuous (aerobic) physical exercise, although it is of course possible to undertake that exercise in a less strenuous (non-aerobic) way.
All of the following sports-based exercise have been suggested as interventions for autistic people although, in most cases, there is very little if any research to support their use beyond the research that exists for non-autistic people.
Cycling, gym work, jogging, rebound therapy (trampolining), roller skating, running, swimming, weight training and related activities
Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices, which are practiced for a variety of reasons: self-defence, competition, physical health and fitness, entertainment, as well as mental, physical, and spiritual development.
Martial arts include aikido, boxing, judo, karate, kick boxing, kung fu, taekwondo and wrestling - although there are many, many others.
Both of the marital arts listed below have been suggested as interventions for autistic people.
Mind-body exercises focus on the interactions between the brain, mind, body, and behaviour.
The idea behind mind-body exercises is that the mind and the body can be used to affect physical functioning and to promote health.
Mind-body exercises tend to be less vigorous than other forms of physical exercise and are used wiithin many approaches including: