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Exercise for Individuals with Down Syndrome

Down syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder where extra genetic material from chromosome 21 is present, caused by an abnormal cell division which occurs 1 in every 792 births. It is common for people with down syndrome to have thyroid and heart conditions however, other related conditions include; congenital heart disease (approx. 40%), flaccid muscles, immune deficiency, obesity, obstructive sleep apnea and polycythemia.

One study proved that a 12-week exercise program which incorporated both cardiovascular and resistance training resulted in gains of similar significance when comparing adults living with and without down syndrome. An additional study in 2006 also concluded that people living with down syndrome significantly reduced their body fat mass percentage after completing a 12-week exercise program which consisted of both land and water-based activities three days a week.

According to the National Association for Down Syndrome, the average life expectancy for a person living with down syndrome is 60 years of age. However, given the above listed health conditions, it is important that people living with down syndrome and their family/carers are aware of the ongoing risks and seek assistance from specialists such as cardiologists, podiatrists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and most importantly; Exercise Physiologists.

Exercise Physiologists can tailor an exercise program to suit all individual needs and provide a safe and supportive environment to exercise. If you or someone you know have down syndrome and have any of the above mentioned health concerns; come in and see us at Hunter Rehabilitation and Health or click the link to book in an appointment with our NDIS specialist, Kelsey Moss

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