Down with Fitness

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Down With Fitness: Scoot Your Way To Fitness

The scooter is a staple of many elementary school physical education programs.  It’s also a great exercise tool for children with Down Syndrome.  I like it because it develops balance and coordination, develops core endurance, requires the child to develop lower body strength and endurance, is a leveler because nobody is skilled on these, and accomplishes all this in a fun way.  For the kids I’ve found that this is always one of the most fun parts of a fitness...

Bodyweight Strength Training For Children With Down Syndrome

Bodyweight can be an effective resistance in many exercise programs.  This is especially true for children with Down syndrome.  Children with Down syndrome often like to move just like other children and this can be a fun way to encourage exercise.   Children do not do well with exercise programs that have a prescribed number of sets and repetitions.  As an adult, I may do three sets of thirty crunches but children don’t do well with this kind of approach...

Speed And Agility Drills For Children With Down Syndrome

I use a great deal of speed and agility training with children who have Down Syndrome.  This training has a number of benefits for this population.  First, it strengthens the child’s entire body.  They have to develop trunk strength and endurance to hold the positions, their lower body has to become stronger to perform the exercise, and they have to learn to use their arms.  Second, it develops speed and power.  These are qualities that individuals with Down Syndrome typically...

Floor Hockey And Children With Down Syndrome

When I teach fitness classes for children with Down Syndrome, I like to end them with some type of ball activity.  Like other children, these children enjoy playing with them, it builds hand/foot/eye coordination, teaches sports skills, and encourages a great deal of activity.  I end the class with ball activities because this tends to be the period of time where one loses control of the children.   One of the ball activities that I like to rotate in involves...

Mobility and Bodyweight Exercises for Children with Down Syndrome

When I’m running fitness classes for children with Down Syndrome, I find that (like all kids) they don’t do very well with the concept of sets and repetitions. The fastest way to lose a group of kids in an exercise session is to tell them to do ten of something, have them rest, then repeat the whole thing. It’s boring for them. Having said that, developing gross motor skills (i.e. the child being able to control their body) in conjunction...