Publication date: May 01, 2023
Young adults with autism spectrum disorder over 18 years of age are an underserved population, and there is presently limited evidence examining the effects of physical activity programs in this population. Our review synthesizes the evidence to date from studies that have assessed the effects of physical activity/exercise programs in young adults with autism spectrum disorder between 19 and 30 years. We reviewed 22 studies that included a total of 763 young adults with autism spectrum disorder. There is the strongest evidence for improvements in physical fitness, followed by motor skills, psychological function, and quality of life following physical activity interventions in young adults with autism spectrum disorder. Specifically, aerobic and resistance training as well as programs focused on movement skill and sport-specific training lead to improved physical fitness and movement performance. Holistic interventions focusing on physical activity, dietary changes, and lifestyle modifications lead to improvements in body composition and quality of life of young adults with autism spectrum disorder. There is presently limited evidence to support the use of exercise/activity programs to improve physical activity levels and core autism symptoms in young adults with autism spectrum disorder. Based on our review results, we also provide practical recommendations for clinicians working with young adults with autism spectrum disorder.
|Autism||autism spectrum disorder|
|Years||structured movement interventions|
|disease||MESH||autism spectrum disorder|