Healthy Living Through Exercise - A Guide for Young Adults with Autism or Learning Differences

031919 BLOG Healthy Exercise

Physical activity has a major impact on our physical and mental health. At CIP Bloomington, we focus on well-being as a whole by incorporating personalized one-on-one wellness sessions for each student in addition to group YMCA field trips. Whether we are at the gym focusing on full-body workouts, strolling Downtown Bloomington, or using our relaxing wellness room for meditation, CIP Bloomington aims to provide the students with the most beneficial wellness experience that suits their goals. We are so passionate about engaging the students in physical activity because it has so many benefits for health and social functioning. According to the Mayo Clinic:

Exercise Controls Weight

Exercise can aide in maintaining your weight and prevent excess weight gain. Downtown Bloomington promotes living healthy lifestyles by providing easily accessible sidewalks, beautiful nature trails, and the infamous 3.1 mile “B-Line Trail” that students and staff leverage during wellness sessions.

Exercise Combats Health Conditions and Diseases

Being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the “good” cholesterol, and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This combination keeps your blood flowing smoothly which decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Regular exercise helps prevent and manage a wide range of health problems, such as stroke, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, depression, anxiety, certain types of cancer, arthritis, and falls. It can also help improve cognitive functioning.

Exercise Improves Mood

Physical activity stimulates brain chemicals such as dopamine, and reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which enhances your mood and makes you feel happier, more relaxed, and less anxious. Exercise can also boost your confidence and self-esteem.

CIP Bloomington encourages meditation and breathing techniques during wellness sessions for anxiety and stress relief.

Research shows that being physically active in nature leads to improved mood (Barton & Pretty, 2010). Bloomington has an abundance of hiking trails ranging in difficulty that students and staff can use during wellness sessions.

Exercise Boosts Energy

Regular physical activity can improve muscle strength and boost endurance. This happens because exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues that helps your muscular and cardiovascular system work more efficiently.

This effect will help you maintain energy throughout the day, avoid afternoon crash, and give you motivation to stay consistent with your routines.

CIP Bloomington focuses on making wellness sessions fun and engaging to enhance student enjoyment and excitement toward exercise.

Exercise Promotes Better Sleep

Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and get better overall sleep.
Research by Kathryn Reid and others (2010) suggest that physical activity can improve the quality of your sleep, leaving you feeling refreshed in the morning, and can also improve your overall quality of life.

Exercise Can be a Fun and Social Event

Exercise gives you a chance to unwind, enjoy outdoors, or simply engage in activities that make you feel happy with others.

It can also be a great way to find new friends with similar interests and goals. Joining a gym or studio and consistently showing up will introduce you to people who also value physical activity, which can lead to healthy friendships!

At CIP Bloomington, we visit the YMCA weekly where we see familiar faces and are able to interact with other community members who are working towards improving their health. Whether we are walking around the track with other members or playing basketball with other players, the YMCA offers CIP students a great way to engage with the healthy Bloomington community.

Whether it is education on exercise form, exploring Bloomington’s many nature trails, or practicing meditation, CIP Bloomington is determined to provide the students with the health education and resources they need to live healthy lives during programming and following their graduation.  

About College Internship Program

The College Internship Program is a comprehensive transition program for young adults on the Autism Spectrum and with Learning Differences. Our Mission is to inspire independence and expand the foundation on which young adults with Autism, ADHD, and other Learning Differences can build happy and productive lives.