Everyone who wants a healthy lifestyle—regardless of age, gender, or ability—cannot overlook the importance of exercise. Regular exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy weight, warding off chronic illness, and even helping extend our life expectancy.

While the physical benefits of exercise are certainly enough to warrant making it a priority, exercise also comes with a myriad of other positive outcomes, from better mental health to improved social lives. Here, we'll go over a few of those lesser-known benefits, as well as the reasons physical activity can be particularly helpful for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

  • Exercise can help with depression and anxiety. Physical activity produces a slew of chemicals (including endorphins and endogenous cannabinoids) that have been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. On top of that, working out provides a constructive outlet for tension and gives individuals an opportunity to focus on something else, rather than ruminating on negative thoughts.
     
  • Exercise can increase self-confidence. Completing a difficult workout, winning at a friendly sports competition, or achieving a fitness goal all increase feelings of self-efficacy, which can contribute positively to self-esteem.
     
  • Exercise enhances cognitive function and focus. Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive effects of exercise on cognitive function and memory. In particular, it's been shown to be incredibly helpful in managing the symptoms of ADHD for both children and adults.
     
  • Exercise can improve behavioral and social skills. Exercise provides a structured, playful environment in which to practice motor skills and communication. Research has shown that for individuals with developmental disabilities such as autism, physical activity can produce improvements in behavioral and social skills

Exercise is a fundamental component of our programs at Envision Unlimited. We offer daily in-person fitness programs for our members that can be accessed online by anyone. To receive a weekly schedule of those programs so that you can join from home, click here.

Since 1948, we have helped people with disabilities live healthier, more fulfilling lives in their communities. Our offerings, which include day programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities; mental health, residential, and employment services; specialized foster care; and accredited applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy for adults and children, are designed to address the unique needs of each of our clients—regardless of age, background, or ability.

Our services are grounded in a spirit of advocacy and empowerment. We believe that all individuals are capable of living fulfilling lives if given the right opportunities. Contact us today to see how we can help you!