Friday, June 13, 2014

Physical Fitness and An Adult With Autism

Every year, our local "Y" sponsors something called the Corporate Challenge, where people from different companies in our area compete in a number of road races for the fame and glory of themselves and the company they work for.

In 2009 I wrote the below post.  Yesterday, I completed my eighth Corporate Challenge.  I still walked the predicted mile, where you guess your time and try to walk the mile in your exact time.

Once again I didn't win. 

Last year, the event was postponed due to rain, the first time that ever happened.  While cities in Texas ponder if they should drink their toilet water (no, I'm not linking to THAT post yet again), we wish that we could send rain their way, at least on days like this.  Instead, once again, I raced in the rain. (And hurt my back - how, for Pete's sake, do you hurt your BACK by walking????)

And now, in a masterful segue, I will devote the rest of this post to "B", my brother in law, who has autism.

"B" has never walked a Corporate Challenge.  He has never run one.  In fact, I can't remember the last time he ever exercised.

That has become a big problem, because "B" is in his 50's, and, as anyone who has reached that age can testify, things start happening to your body if you don't exercise.

Things happen that aren't good.  In the interest of preserving "B"'s privacy, I will not divulge those health issues "B" is experiencing except for one thing that I do need to share - "B" has asthma, and has had it for many years.

He fears physical activity.  The reason he gives us is his asthma - at least, that's the reason he gives us.  He will walk, maybe a round around the local mall, but that is it.  He fears an attack. In fact, the one time, many years ago, that my spouse took him for a walk, his mother was unhappy with us afterwards, and I know that "B" observed that.  So, it may be a type of learned helplessness.

When his mother had more mobility, she used to mall walk with friends, and he sometimes went with her if she needed a walking companion.  But, that's in the past.  My mother in law can't mall walk any more (she has problems walking, period) and so "B" is not moving.

So, we can't figure out what to do to motivate "B" to move more.   We live 150 miles away, so we are not in his life on a regular basis.  Many times, when we are down there, it is to help his Mom out, celebrate a holiday, or some other occasion where we aren't making time for exercise.  Unfortunately, the neighborhood where "B" and Mom lives has no sidewalks, and walking far is a dangerous thing. In fact, the entire community is not set up for walking.

There is a rail trail - we've used ourselves but it is not sunny, and slippery green stuff grows here and there on the trail.  He would rather walk in the mall, I suspect, which is more familiar to him.

So, what to do to get him moving more?

I hope someone reading this can comment with some suggestions.  Because, "B" has to move.  He has to, for the sake of his health, asthma in consideration, but I do know that people with asthma can exercise with proper precautions.

In the meantime, here is my post from 2009.

Just Racin' in the Rain.....

Just got back from the 2009 Corporate Challenge, an annual event in our area (and maybe nationwide). Employees of various businesses compete, in good fun, in various walking and running events. I'm not a runner, so I did the one walking event, the Predicted Mile. In this race, you race the clock, not others. Participants predict the time they will finish the mile in and the person closest to their prediction wins. The key here is that you can't have a watch or any other way of telling time on your person.

This is my third year of participating and it is a blast.

The first year it was held in August and it was in the 90's, with runners collapsing and ambulances responding. Not a pretty sight. Last year the weather was pretty decent. This year, the heavens opened.

It's been raining since last night with a few breaks. At noon, my walking partner and I did 1 1/2 miles, with rain at the end. Tonight the rain started about 5:30 and it didn't let up. The runners loved it. As for the walkers...well, my new walking shoes aren't so new anymore. But it sure beat being in the 90's.

This year's Corporate Challenge had the highest turnout in 10 years, and they had to split the walkers into two groups. 41 companies, large and small. It's a good event and I hope to participate in the coming years, too.

I'll know tomorrow if I (ha ha) won.


  1. And it is raining here, again. I like to walk in the rain, but not for too long though! As to how to motivate your brother-in-law, if he likes to do mall walking, why not let him/get him to do that? Are there any volunteer groups in his community that can get him out or walk in the mall with him?


  2. It rained overnight here in the south of UK after the hottest day so far.
    You might not like my advice, but I'll share it anyway. You're welcome to disregard. Why not let "B" do what he pleases? He didn't ask for your guidance, well-intentioned though it might be. I remember my sister rang me for a large distance away once. She wanted me to tell my mother not to do - I can't even remember what it was. I replied that she should carry on as she pleased. We're all in charge of our own life. We've been given freedom of choice. Even if you think he isn't responsible enough, he is.
    Try to find peace in yourself and let things be. You've done everything you can.

  3. Walking and playing in the rain bring back the memories of my childhood.

  4. It's been pretty wet and rainy here. I was out in the mid morning/ early afternoon at a BBQ but we were forced to pack up early, due to the rain! It was a shame.
    Perhaps you could ask 'B' what he would like to do. :)


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