Hi. I am Andrew Edwards from Wrexham. I am delighted to be writing the first in what will hopefully be a series of blogs in my capacity as an Autism Together Ambassador for 2019 on various facets of my life experiences with autism.
This one is on my experiences training in the gym to coincide with World Health Day on 7thApril.
“One thing that has helped me my autism is exercise. In my opinion, in the future there should be more help and support to encourage people with autism to live healthier lifestyles.
I have been training at Number One HSP, a non-profit strength & conditioning facility in Queensferry, Flintshire, under the tutelage of Geraint Llyr Roberts MSc for exactly two years. When I arrived at Number One, I was overweight, fed up with my training and verging on giving up completely after hitherto bad experiences and any progress was none existent. I saw exercise as a necessity, not something to be enjoyed.
I soon realised that I never had been training in the correct environment hitherto to being coached by Geraint. My exercise sessions with Geraint enable me to successfully compartmentalise my life. It is one of the most important pieces of advice that I can offer regarding training that you must be in an environment that is conducive to you being comfortable in yourself, feeling happy, making the physical and emotional gains you realistic want to whilst being correctly supported and advised in a modern scientific manner.
Number One is a calm, accommodating, encouraging, understanding community environment that sees a smorgasbord of clients from Elite Level International Athletes in a variety of sports to people with disabilities including autism, young children and members of the general public. Geraint explains, which ostensibly seems to be complex, scientific information, in a calm, straight-forward manner that is easy to process for my autism
Since then, I have made tremendous physical, emotional and mental gains whilst comfortably executing exercises that I thought were the stuff of fantasy worthy of George R.R. Martin.
Below is a link to clips on me in the gym
Before I go, I would like to back myself up with the following information to ponder that I believe should enable autistic people, their families, partners and carers to consider living a more active, healthy lifestyle.
- A 2016 research study from the UK Charity, Autistica, stated that even “high-functioning” autistic people can die up to eighteen years earlier than the average life expectancy.
- It is my undoubted belief that exercise for the higher functioning on the spectrum and a healthier lifestyle will undoubtedly add to their life expectancy
- This would also help those with autism who have depression, mental health and anxiety issues, which I believe go hand in hand with the condition.
- It is my undoubted belief that it will save a substantial amount of money in the long run while reducing dependency on stretched resources of the National Health Service whilst lengthening the lives of those with Autism
- Also, in my own personal experiences with myself and working with autistic youngsters, I think parents and autistic adults would benefit from the correct nutritional advice as I believe many autistic youngsters and adults have what may be described as eating disorders (eating too much, too little or the same foods repeatedly)
- I certainly believe, looking back at my childhood, that I had an eating disorder as I was seldom full. I am also cognisant of autistic people who eat too little, which has had a detrimental effect on their health.