“The problem isn’t exercise. It is true, unfortunately, that any physical activity done with any regularity has the potential to improve your mood. It’s not a miracle cure or an all-purpose substitute for other interventions—you should not, under any circumstances, drop everything else you’ve been doing to take care of yourself and give me twenty. But exercise can provide focus, routine, comfort, and even a boost to physical health when it feels like everything else is going to hell. And yes, it can make you feel less like shit.” -Autistic author Sarah Kurchak, from her new book Work It Out

Cover of the book Work it Out by Sarah Kurchak. The background is light aqua with a light gray grid pattern. In the center is a person seen from overhead, lying in a bed with their head on a pillow, holding two hand weights next to their head. They have brown skin, dark brown hair, and are wearing a yellow tank top.
Cover of the book Work it Out by Sarah Kurchak

Work it Out is a compassionate guide that offers a neurodivergent-inclusive approach to kickstarting a regular exercise routine. Authored by Sarah Kurchak, a certified fitness trainer and advocate for inclusive health practices, this book is useful for those who have been seeking a supportive and understanding resource to begin their fitness journey.

Kurchak’s writing style is warm, informative, and empathetic, instantly putting readers at ease. From the very first pages, it’s evident that the author’s goal is not just to teach exercises, but to foster a sense of empowerment, self-acceptance, and wellbeing. The book is thoughtfully structured, providing a step-by-step roadmap that takes into account the unique needs and challenges faced by neurodiverse individuals.

One of the standout features of this guide is its emphasis on customization. Kurchak goes above and beyond to highlight that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to fitness. Instead, she encourages readers to embrace their individuality and tailor exercise routines that align with their preferences and sensory sensitivities. By offering a variety of exercise options, accompanied by clear instructions and flow-charts, she ensures that readers can choose activities that are compatible with their needs and abilities.

Furthermore, the book excels in its incorporation of mindfulness and mental health practices. Kurchak recognizes the intricate connection between the mind and body, and she dedicates sections to stress the importance of self-care, relaxation techniques, and embracing setbacks as part of the journey. These insights are particularly valuable for neurodivergent individuals who may experience difficulties with autistic inertia or burnout.

I read through this book during my own disability flare-ups, and Kurchak’s empathetic approach to the often tense subject of physical exercise was overwhelmingly free of shame and useful for beginning to get the ball rolling again in small ways. Discussions of exercise and physical fitnessare all too frequently steeped in the most toxic attitudes of diet culture which Work it Out is keenly aware of. These myths are dispelled with a sense of humor and deep relatability.

Sarah Kurchak’s dedication to inclusivity is evident in her language and approach. The book is free from jargon, and she takes care to explain concepts in accessible terms. This makes it an ideal resource not only for neurodivergent individuals but also for their families, friends, and support networks who are keen to understand and support their loved ones’ fitness endeavors.”

Work it Out is a guide that fills a significant gap in the realm of fitness literature. Sarah Kurchak’s commitment to neurodiversity, coupled with her expert knowledge, ensures that this book is not only informative but also deeply affirming. This book is not targeted towards those who already know a fair amount about exercise or who are looking for an in-depth book on research on exercise, but it is worth the read for anyone seeking a kind, understanding, and neurodivergent-friendly approach to embarking on a journey towards a more active lifestyle.