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Myers Park trainer makes it his mission to empower those with autism through exercise

Eric Chessen started Autism Fitness 17 years ago after realizing there weren't a lot of resources available for those on the spectrum.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Research shows more than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder.  One Charlotte trainer has made it his mission to help those on the spectrum stay healthy and active through physical activity.

“Autism Fitness I started 17 years ago,” owner of Autism Fitness, Eric Chessen said. “And what I realized was that there was not many fitness programs dedicated to the autism special needs population."

Chessen wants to play a part in changing the statistic. At Metro Fitness in Myers Park he’s offering one on one classes for those living with autism from adolescents to adults.

“Long term, what we find is we have better quality of life so we may be preventing low back pain, we may be preventing medical complications that come from a sedentary lifestyle," Chessen said.

Chessen breaks down his program into three phases: Warm up and mobility, dynamic movement, and strength and stability.

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“For example in our strength and stability were looking at squatting pressing and pulling object," Chessen said.

Chessen said each workout is individually based which has proven to work over time.

“I had one in particular who the first few sessions were complete meltdowns and he would become aggressive and try to escape the situation he wanted no part of it but if you look at video side by side two months later almost complete self-directed,” Chessen said. 

Empowering those with autism through fitness to increase focus, build confidence and reduce stereotypical behaviors.

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