Autism and Exercise During a Pandemic

Autism and Exercise During a Pandemic

Parents and guardians have found it quite a challenge to find ways to keep their children active during a pandemic. School at home is a challenge all by itself, but how do these parents and guardians keep their children active? They understand that a Zoom school day means the child sits in their child in front of their computer. But, how do they get them off the computer to move their bodies?

I applaud the creative ways that parents and guardians have tried to get exercise for their kids. Walking the dog, obstacle courses in the backyard, and even what I thought was cool, A Harry Potter Workout!

What did I do with my child?

Last spring, my son didn’t have nearly as much Zoom-in-front-of-the-computer time as he does this year. It was hit and miss because teachers had no time to prepare. I do not blame the teachers. They did the best they could under difficult circumstances.

My son took long “scooter” trips back then. He has a Razor scooter that he likes to ride it (yes, he does wear a helmet). Back then, he would often take a hour for an hour or so.

Why was he able to take long rides with his scooter?

It wasn’t hot.

Which it at the heart of our challenge to get exercise for our son.

Ever since the weather got warm/hot here in Southern California, our son won’t go on his long scooter rides. He doesn’t like to sweat because he gets an itch reaction. We have discussed this issue with his MD, but the only solution has been to use Eucerin cream and try to cool down a bit while working out.

My son took the initiative on that last part by not working out. This not only included long scooter trips but, of course, he had to stop lifting weights and running on the treadmill at the gym. Gyms were either closed or we kept him away due to safety concerns.

What about other types of exercise?

My son has been a swimmer for years on a VIP-type of team. The swim team practice and meets were shut down for four months. When they returned, they offered two days a week for swim team practice in their outdoor pool. The days are Saturdays and Sundays. At first, my son refused to swim on Saturdays due to an online gaming “club” he participated in.

Also, there’s the weather issue as well as the heat of the pool. If the pool is heated too much, my son would again have the itchy skin problem.

In other words, we didn’t want to pay the fee for one day of swim a week.

What was happening with our son?

He was too inactive, and honestly, he was gaining weight.

Not a huge amount because my son is quite routine with his eating habits. He doesn’t have an extremely limited diet, but he only eats (maybe) six or seven different types of meals. In addition, he is not a snack person. His only snack is a small chocolate milk.

Were we worried?

At first, no. Then, the months began to pile up and the weather was still hot, and it seemed like there were strings of days when he wasn’t moving all that much.

What did we do?

Now that it’s winter, and the weather is cool, he has returned to his long scooter rides.

In addition, we got him back onto his swim team. He agreed to delay the online game on Saturdays so he could swim on that day and on Sundays. After that, I also take him for free week during the week.

How is he faring?

So far, so good. He has gotten back into the “groove” of swimming three times a week and he has challenged himself to take his long scooter rides up into our hills.

In conclusion, I feel better now that he’s making this effort and moved his body at least once a day.

Congratulations for all the parents and guardians out there who have met this challenge and had some success. It hasn’t been easy, but we’re all doing our best.

Autism and Exercise During a Pandemic


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