Beautiful down syndrome (DS)

What is Down Syndrome?

Down syndrome has a genetic origin featuring uniqueness in an individual’s chromosomes. Individuals with Down syndrome have an additional chromosome 21 (known as Trisomy 21), therefore having a total of 47 chromosomes instead of 46. This occurs at conception. Currently, 1 in 1000 beautifully special babies are born with Down Syndrome.

Research has shown that individuals with Down Syndrome have reduced cardiovascular fitness and strength (3). Strength and fitness are important factors to help us complete daily activities such as walking, dressing and carrying the groceries. Research has also shown individual’s with Down syndrome have a higher prevalence for obesity and metabolic disorders such as diabetes, placing them at higher risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease (4). Exercise is one fantastic way which can help to improve some of the complications associated with low muscle tone.

What are the benefits of exercise?

Exercise has a wide variety of benefits for people with Down syndrome. Some are listed below:

• Cardiovascular exercise can reduce fat mass which can reduce the risk for secondary chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes often associated with increased weight.

• Cardiovascular exercise can improve our overall physical fitness, helping us with everyday activities such as walking up stairs and reducing fatigue.

• Strength training can improve muscle strength and allow for improvements in movement and everyday activities (2).

• Balance exercises can improve overall balance and walking and reduce the risk of falls (2).

• Exercise can improve quality of life, self-esteem, confidence and psychological well-being (5).

What are the recommendations for exercise with individual’s with Down syndrome?

It is currently recommended that people with Down syndrome engage in both cardiovascular and strength training. Strength training should be performed 2-3 times per week, using all major muscle groups. Cardiovascular training should be performed for 30-60 minutes, 4-5 days per week.

Supervised and targeted programs are provided by a professional such as an Exercise Physiologist or a Physiotherapist. Exercise Physiologist’s and Physiotherapist’s work with you, helping you to improve and achieve your goals. They also ensure your safety when performing exercise. The team at Aevum are all experienced and have fantastic knowledge about all things exercise and Down syndrome. The team also feels a great degree of encouragement and joy from our clients who often are the happiest and most thankful of anyone we treat. As one of the biggest NDIS Providers for Physiotherapy and Exercise Physiology in the Sutherland Shire, we also have advanced technology to help our clients achieve their goals.

Call and book an appointment with the Aevum team to learn more. 02 8544 3231.

References:

1. https://www.downsyndrome.org.au/what_is_down_syndrome.html

2. Gupta, S., Rao, B. K., & Kumaran, S. D. (2011). Effect of strength and balance training in children with Down’s syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Clinical rehabilitation, 25(5), 425-432.

3. Mendonca, G. V., Pereira, F. D., & Fernhall, B. (2011). Effects of combined aerobic and resistance exercise training in adults with and without Down syndrome. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 92(1), 37-45.

4. Ordonez, F. J., Rosety, M., & Rosety-Rodriguez, M. (2006). Influence of 12-week exercise training on fat mass percentage in adolescents with Down syndrome. Medical science monitor, 12(10), CR416-CR419.

5. Hardee, J. P., & Fetters, L. (2017). The effect of exercise intervention on daily life activities and social participation in individuals with Down syndrome: a systematic review. Research in developmental disabilities, 62, 81-103.