Exercise has positive impacts on people with Down’s syndrome, study reveals

Short bursts of walking can lead to significant improvements in information processing

A recent study suggests that incorporating light, regular exercise can enhance both the cognitive and physical well-being of adults with Down’s syndrome, a genetic disorder associated with developmental delays and intellectual disability.

Published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the study is pioneering in exploring the effects of physical and cognitive exercise on individuals with Down syndrome.

The research, led by Dr Dan Gordon from Anglia Ruskin University, reveals that short bursts of walking can lead to significant improvements in information processing and attention after just eight weeks.

While walking might not be a natural activity for many in the Down syndrome community, the study demonstrates its efficacy in developing cognitive and executive function.

Participants engaging in cardiorespiratory exercise, specifically walking three times a week for 30 minutes, showed notable physical fitness improvements and the combined cognitive and physical exercise group exhibited positive outcomes in error rates during cognitive activities and decision-making speed and accuracy.

This breakthrough highlights the potential of exercise as a powerful tool for cognitive development in adults with Down syndrome, offering a new perspective on what best promotes their well-being.

Despite the commonly observed lower levels of daily physical activity in this population, the study underscores the transformative impact of tailored exercise interventions on both physical fitness and cognitive function.

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