International Journal of Exercise Science 8(2): 192-201, 2015. Research examining acute and long-term responses to exercise of individuals with Downs Syndrome (DS) is sparse. However, if this group experiences benefits associated with improved quantity or quality of life, it would be important to elucidate specific responses and discourage adoption of a sedentary lifestyle in individuals with DS. Specifically, these individuals have multiple blunted physiological responses to exercise both at the onset and termination of an acute exercise bout. Mechanistically, this could be rooted in hormonal responses which are blunted, in comparison to non-DS participants. Specific studies indicate individuals with DS appear to experience benefits in such hormonal responses, in response to short term (~12 weeks) participation in exercise programs. Damage due to oxidative stress is greater in individuals with DS, as the gene for superoxide dismutase lies on chromosome 21. Current research suggests exercise training can also improve oxidative stress in this population. Although less well-understood, there is potential for improved motor learning in individuals with DS as a result of exercise participation. This paper provides a brief review discussing current research on how individuals with DS respond to exercise. Further, a link is made advocating that blunted acute responses may result in elevated perceptions regarding difficulty of exercise, which in turn contributes to increased likelihood of having a sedentary lifestyle. Adverse effects have not been identified, and with no theoretical arguments against exercise participation, it is concluded that adaptive exercise programs for individuals with DS should be implemented for improving health and quality of life.
Kerstiens, Rachel L. and Green, Matt
"Exercise in Individuals with Down Syndrome: A Brief Review,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 8
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol8/iss2/10