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Valerio, I1; Rimmer, J H.1; Heller, T1; Wang, E1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2003 - Volume 35 - Issue 5 - p S374
H-13L Free Communication/Poster Exercise Training and Health

1University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL

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To evaluate the effects of an exercise training regimen for adults with Down syndrome.

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16 females and 14 males (M age = 38.6 yrs) from the same geographic cluster were selected to participate in an exercise training regimen (treatment group), 3 days.wk-1 for 60 (cardiovascular - 30 min; strength - 20 min; flexibility - 10 min). 13 females and 10 males (M age = 40.6 yrs) with similar characteristics were assigned to the control group. Outcome measures included peak VO2 (mL.min-1. mL. kg-1. min-1), time to exhaustion, max workload, peak heart rate, RER, upper and lower body strength, handgrip strength (GS), body weight, BMI, total skinfolds (TS), hamstring/low back flexibility (HLBF), and shoulder flexibility.

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Compared to Controls, the Exercise group showed significant gains in main cardiovascular functions (peak VO2, p <.01; time to exhaustion, p <.05; max workload, p <.01; peak heart rate, p <.01; and RER, p <.01), strength (bench press, p <.001; leg press, p <.001), flexibility (shoulder, p <.05) and body composition (body weight, p <.01). There was no significant difference between Exercise and Controls on GS, BMI, TS, and HLBF. Out of a total of 1080 exercise sessions (30 experimental participants × 36 sessions), 91 percent of the sessions were attended.

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A supervised exercise training program for a group of adults with Down syndrome resulted in significant gains in cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength and reduced in body weight. Participants maintained good adherence to the program and there were no reported injuries. Greater support must be offered to underserved populations to achieve higher levels of physical activity participation. Future research should explore simple, home-based and community-based physical activity interventions that provide ongoing support for increasing and maintaining physical activity participation in this cohort.

©2003The American College of Sports Medicine