This study was designed to investigate relationships between the aerobic physical exercise and self-stimulatory behaviours in Autistic children. A study was designed featuring twenty minute observation periods, both pre and post a five minute duration of aerobic physical exercise undertaken on a cycle ergometer. The exercise intensity performed by the subjects varied between 43% and 87% of their maximal heart rate.

The data gathered indicated that five minutes of aerobic physical exercise sufficed to bring about a decrease in post-exercise self-stimulatory behaviours. The research showed a possible link between aerobic physical exercise performed at 55% and 69% of subjects’ maximal heart rates, however a significant positive relationship between heart rate intensity and self-stimulatory behaviours was not evidenced.

The data also appeared to show a trend of pre-exercise self-stimulatory behaviours decreasing in frequency over the five-week duration of the study.

The research highlighted some design imperfections such as the necessity for differentiated equipment and the requirement to measure pre-observation resting heart rates.

Read the full study