Tailoring Fitness to Young Adults with Autism: A Guide to Enhanced Physical and Mental Well-Being

When it comes to enhancing physical health or nurturing mental well-being, especially for young adults with autism, it's crucial to consider more than just the typical exercises like weight lifting, running, or aerobic classes. While these are excellent choices, tailoring your workout routine to align with specific interests, sensory needs, and social skills can significantly impact commitment and overall success in achieving fitness goals.


1. Embrace Personalization

Recognize the importance of customizing your exercise regimen to suit your unique preferences, sensory sensitivities, and passions. This is particularly vital for young adults with autism, who may find fulfillment in sensory-friendly activities like martial arts or gymnastics. Such activities can cater to their needs for structure and routine, making fitness less of a chore and more of a rewarding pursuit.


2. Sustaining Interest and Motivation

For young adults with autism, maintaining interest in a fitness program is key for consistency. Consider gamification techniques and tracking methods that cater to diverse learning and engagement styles. Using apps like MyFitnessPal, Skimble, or interactive games like BeatSaber can make workouts engaging. Integrating social skills development through augmented reality games like Pokémon GO encourages interaction in a fun, safe environment.


3. The Power of Support

Building a support network is crucial. For individuals with autism, finding a workout partner or group can also be an opportunity to practice and enhance social skills. This network provides accountability and motivation, essential for maintaining consistency in fitness routines.



For young adults with autism, finding a routine that intertwines passions, sensory needs, and social skills development is key to a fulfilling fitness journey. By tailoring workouts, integrating engaging elements, and fostering strong support systems, individuals can make sustainable and enjoyable progress toward their health and fitness goals.

About the Author: Anthony Milla

Anthony Milla is the Lead Life Skills Coordinator at CIP Brevard. Before joining CIP, he attended Ohio State University and studied psychology before taking a position at a specialized residential program where he was a floor supervisor, hiring manager, and physical management and verbal de-escalation trainer. Currently, Anthony also leads CIP's annual Global Engagement Trip in which he has the opportunity to travel the globe with our CIP students.