BACKGROUND: Most of the children and adolescents with Down’s syndrome (DS) have poor aerobic capacity, physical fitness and demonstrate diminished cognitive abilities. Recent studies suggest that increased physical activity may prove to be important for maintaining components of cognition, including memory along with physical fitness.

In addition, there is interest among practitioners in determining the efficacy of virtual exercise classes, which can be more convenient for clients. However, it is unknown whether group exercise classes delivered over videoconferencing achieve desired outcomes—particularly in special populations such as those with DS.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of aerobic exercise practiced over video conferencing on physical fitness and cognition in individuals with DS

METHOD: A pilot study was carried out with 5 individuals having DS. 10 weeks of an aerobic exercise protocol of moderate intensity was delivered via videoconferencing. Before and after the 10-week intervention, VO2max was estimated using a previously established method, and cognitive ability was assessed using a 61-item questionnaire.

RESULT: Following the 10-week intervention, significant increases were noted for both aerobic fitness as well as cognitive abilities

CONCLUSION: Aerobic exercises will help to maintain or improve physical fitness in individuals with DS. Perhaps more importantly, it is also apparent that aerobic exercise positively affects cognitive function as well. Videoconferencing is an effective platform for delivering aerobic exercise prescriptions in cases where in-person practice is not possible. Future work is needed to determine whether these outcomes are achieved with a larger sample and across a broader population of those with DS.



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