Gift Guide from the Fitness Guy
In spoiler alert fashion I will begin by stating that most of the stuff on this year’s fitness gift guide list appeared last year. Because it’s still just as great and if you didn’t get around to buying it last year then a reminder is certainly in order. Now, as with any equipment these are all only as useful as they are used, and I encourage any parents who want to start a fitness program in the home to grab a few of these and get started. The most important aspect of any fitness program is the ability to progress from where we are at now. Plenty of my athletes began in a rather unmotivated mood, and it took us a few weeks month (occasionally a year) to find some aspect of fitness that was reinforcing.
Stay with it. Stay with it. Stay with it. Consistency is a heavy mixer in the DNA of success. When parents ask how I get their children, teens, and adults to actually like their exercise program, “consistency” is the first word out of my face. In line with the concepts that make Autism Fitness programs successful, the equipment selection is based on both general and individual needs. Two Things. Thing One is objects vs. objectives. The objective for any general individualized fitness program should be increasing strength, stability, and motor planning through the essential movement patterns; squatting, pushing, pulling, hinging, and locomotion. Thing Two is developing programs (for individuals or groups) that can be quickly progressed or regressed to meet the needs of any athlete. Some may have significant strength or movement deficits and motor planning issues. Over a decade of developing fitness programs for many individuals with autism and related developmental disabilities has taught me a lot about a foundation of simplicity. Teach to squat, teach to press, teach to pull, teach to locomote and good things will happen elsewhere.
So this list below is not filled with revolutionary machines that promise warp-speed results (those exist but in lies and fairytales). They don’t have moving parts. You and your athletes are moving parts. They lend towards creativity because the programming isn’t built-in (hence my consulting practice). The objects don’t dictate what you do with them, but this is a good thing. They are amenable to your needs and those of your athlete. They don’t take up lots of space and are relatively inexpensive and highly usable. If you use them. Which you should, of course.
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Hurdle steps, cones of assorted sizes and colors
So very many mobility and progression options with these from jumps to locomotion (getting from one place to another), level change (high to low), and all the prepositional stuff (in, on, under, over, left, right, etc.)
For throwing (a variety of ways), squatting to, carrying, and some great ground-based exercises
For pulling movements of all kinds. We want to balance out pushing with pulling and bands are versatile and portable. Great for when monkey bars or anything climbable isn’t an immediate option.
And, finally; Time and Dedication
Being excited to start a fitness program in the home is fine. Execution and consistency (that word again) will be the determining factor between all the items in my gift guide being a gateway towards a healthier, optimized future and having something extra to dust. Programming, as my great influence Dan John would suggest, should be simple, but not easy. Nothing worthwhile really is. So here I provide the list of items. You bring them to life.
Eric Chessen, M.S., is the Founder of Autism Fitness. An exercise physiologist with an extensive ABA background, Eric consults with families, educators, and fitness professionals around the world. Eric works with his athletes in the NY metro area and is the author of several E-books. Visit AutismFitness.com for more information.
More Fitness Gifts
- Fitness Equipment Worth Buying
- Fitness Gift Guide
- Come Bearing Gifts and Wearing Them Too! Technology Ideas for Your Family and Friends
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This post originally appeared on our November/December 2016 Magazine