Healthy Lifestyle

Why Sweating is Crucially Important for Autistic Individuals

Sweat is important for all of us; it’s the body’s natural way of maintaining the body temperature, but it’s a lot more than just about maintaining body temperature. 

Other than cooling down the body and regulating body temperature, sweat also flushes out the toxins and heavy metals from the body, reduces the stress and anxiety, improves blood circulation and defeats harmful microbes.

With these major benefits sweating is surely very important for growing kids and crucial for kids on the autism spectrum. 

Why Sweating in More Important for Autistic Individuals

Scientific researchers back the concept of increase in body temperature due to stress, and researches also show that despite being unable to communicate their discomfort, the body of an autistic individual responds to the stressors like everyone else

As I mentioned earlier, sweating is important for everyone, but it’s crucial for autistic individuals because quite often they cannot express their concerns, even if they are verbal. So, they experience higher levels of stress and anxiety as compared to the people who can express and communicate their discomfort. So, they need to sweat more in order to maintain a healthy body temperature, improve blood circulation, and release stress and anxiety.

Moreover, kids on the autism spectrum are more prone to digestive disorders than their typical counterparts (can be due to a variety of reasons). And what else can be better than sweating to flush out the toxins and defeat harmful microbes. Heavy sweating can also improve the success rate of toilet training a child on autism spectrum, as it can resolve a lot of digestive discomforts.

Less active urban lifestyle, closed environment and hectic schedules are the most common reasons for less opportunities to sweat, and as a result a lot of kids and grown up individuals on the autism spectrum do not sweat much, but the lack of expression keeps the stress piling up, which ultimately shows up as an inappropriate, destructive behavior. 

The Connection Between Stress, Sweat & Behavioral Problems in Autistics Individuals

Stress alone is the biggest contributor in piling up a lot of behavioral issues, however, most of the time, it’s not the only cause of problematic behaviors, i.e. autistic individuals are often not able to express some basic feelings of discomfort, like headache, gas, acid reflux, constipation, (despite being verbal), the ultimate result is challenging behavior. 

Sweating as it helps flush out toxins, helps in improving a lot of underlying issues like headaches, gas, constipation etc. which automatically resolves a lot of problematic behaviors.

My Child is Super Active But He Still Has Problem Behaviors 

Well, at some point my son won’t sweat much! I was concerned that despite such a heavy activity, he still has behavioral issues. For instance, he could jump on a trampoline straight 2 hours and still hyper. I tried a lot of things, but nothing seemed to be working. It was some time later I realized that he sweats very less. 

I started my research and by joining the dots, I found that getting him sweat more can be helpful. Since, we autism moms test everything that makes even little sense to us, so I gave it a try and it worked like a charm.

How to Get Your Autistic Child Sweat More

The little tweak I made in the physical activity was to focus more on sweat and not much on the amount/intensity of the exercise he performs (because, somehow he already incurs a lot of effort). And here’s what I started with:

  1. Turn off the AC when he is doing a dance workout or jumping on the trampoline.
  2. Get a flavored water bottle ready on the side (he was not that much fan of drinking plain water). Make sure, it doesn’t have a lot of sugar and additives. The best flavored water is adding a lime  and a tablespoon of honey to 1 liter water (room temperature), but you can do your own experiments as the child likes it.
  3. Put the full water bottle in sight so the child  keeps drinking the whole day. (Yes, he needs to rehydrate even when not working out).  Keep refilling without getting noticed and give your child reminders every now and then to drink it. The more they hydrate, the more they will sweat and the better cleansing process it will be!

Does Sweating Really Help in Managing Challenging Behavior

Yes, it does! And, not just for my son, but a lot of other moms have seen visible benefits of sweating in their kids on the spectrum. 

Track & Field sports are a great way to sweat, and I strongly emphasize on getting kids active in one or more sports. These sports do not just channelize the child’s energy positively, but also help the child interact with other kids and adults on the track and field. Children can significantly improve socialization through these sports.

At times, kids with ASD and ADHD do not sweat at all or sweat very less, due to which they are often seen agitated on the track and field. They actually need a little fixing before getting in action and that is hydration. Do consider the points I mentioned above to improve hydration. Just in case, the hydration with this regular method is not working for your child, it’s better to check with a physician to identify any possible underlying issue and get it fixed accordingly.

Other Interesting Posts in the Category