Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Physical Activity and Autism

Taken from SHEILA SWANN-GUERRERO's  Master of Science in Disability and Human Development thesis in the Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Chicago, 2012

Physical Activity and Autism

Physical activity can positively impact fitness and the characteristics and associated conditions of autism (Levison & Reid, 1993). Studies on cardiovascular exercise and autism have found that participation in vigorous physical activity in combination with behavior therapy can be helpful in reducing inappropriate behaviors in children with autism (Lavay, French, & Henderson, 1997).  Being physically active not only provides health benefits for individuals with autism, it may also help with reducing problematic behaviors, increasing desired behaviors, attention, productivity, fitness levels, muscle strength and endurance, promoting healthy weight loss and improving social skills for positive peer relationships (Pan & Frey, 2006; Sherrill, 1998).

Retrieved from http://indigo.uic.edu/bitstream/handle/10027/9699/swann-guerrero_sheila.pdf?sequence=1 February 26, 2012

Monday, 25 February 2013

Green Exercise - Not a New Idea

Green Spaces, Mental Health and Wellbeing 

"Almost one in six people in the UK will suffer from mental ill-health in their lifetime.  Mental ill-health can lead to and maintain health and social inequalities. It accounts for almost 20% of the burden of disease in Europe.  Poor mental health also costs the economy an estimated £26.1 billion a year, because of the thousands of people unable to work due to their mental illness.  Since the 18th Century, we have been promoting good quality natural environments as an important determinant of health.

David Hume lobbied Edinburgh council in 1724 to build a path up Calton Hill, ‘for the health and amusement of the inhabitants’, and you can still walk up Hume Walk today. The workers’ village
of Saltaire, Yorkshire, built in 1853 by Sir Titus Salt, included green spaces such as a park and allotments for the health and wellbeing of his mill’s employees. Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City movement was borne out of a desire to create “a healthy, natural, and economic combination of town and country life”.

But, over the last 20 years, fewer people have been visiting the countryside and urban green spaces such as parks and allotments......"



Thursday, 21 February 2013

Green Exercise

Benefits of Outdoor Exercise Confirmed

Feb. 5, 2011 — A systematic review carried out by a team at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry has analysed existing studies and concluded that there are benefits to mental and physical well-being from taking exercise in the natural environment. Their findings are published in the research journal Environmental Science and Technology on February 4th 2011.


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Autism Anxiety Amygdala Exercise

I was thinking about why I promote exercise for children with autism and enjoy finding connections between things that help me say what I need to say!

Here is some information on the connection between autism and anxiety:


  • High-functioning children with autism were compared with two control groups on measures of anxiety and social worries.  Comparison control groups consisted of children with specific language impairment (SLI) and normally developing children. Each group consisted of 15 children between the ages of 8 and 12 years and were matched for age and gender. Children with autism were found to be most anxious on both measures. High anxiety subscale scores for the autism group were separation anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. These findings are discussed within the context of theories of autism and anxiety in the general population of children. Suggestions for future research are made.
Gillott, AFurniss, FWalter, A (2001).  Anxiety in High-Functioning Children with Autism, Autism : the international journal of research and practiceISSN 1362-3613, 09/2001, Volume 5,Issue 3, pp. 277 - 286

Here is another about the relationship between exercise and anxiety:
  •  Aerobic exercise appears to have significant therapeutic benefits in the treatment of anxiety and depression.  This effect has been demonstrated in animal models as well as in humans.  However, there has been limited study of the potential brain mechanisms that produce an anti-anxiety or an anti-depressant effect.

This is only one of many of the benefits of vigorous exercise for children with autism.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013


I heard on the radio the other day about biophilia on a radio short on The Peak.  It made sense to me immediately.  It has been published that exercise in nature, versus exercise in the confines of the city, is far more advantageous.

Be outside.



Being Outside