Remote Exercise for Adults with Down Syndrome

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Adults with Down syndrome are less physically active than their typically developed peers. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of delivering moderate-to-vigorous exercise sessions, led by a trained health educator using real-time video conferencing, to groups of young adults with Down syndrome in their homes. Participants were randomized to 30-min group exercise sessions either one or two times a week delivered on an iPad mini tablet computer using the Zoom video conferencing application, and were asked to attend individual support/education sessions once a week using FaceTime® on the iPad, for 12 wk. Minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during all group sessions were assessed using a Fitbit Charge HR activity/heart rate monitor. Participants were also asked to complete weekly homework assignments involving MVPA. Twenty-seven participants (n = 14, one session per week; n = 13, two sessions per week) with a mean age of 27.9 ± 7.1 yr (~41% female) enrolled in and completed the 12-wk intervention. Attendance at group exercise and individual support/education sessions did not differ significantly between those randomized to one session per week (exercise sessions, 89.9% ± 8.8%; support/education sessions, 81.2% ± 18.7%) or two sessions per week (exercise sessions, 88.8% ± 7.7% (P = 0.79); support/education sessions, 86.0% ± 20.9% (P = 0.87)). Participants averaged 27.7 ± 5.7 min per session of MVPA with no significant difference between the one- (26.6 ± 3.0 min per session) and two-session-per-week groups (28.8 ± 7.7 min per session, P = 0.16). The completion rate for homework assignments did not differ significantly between the one- (21.4% ± 26.3%) and two-session-per-week groups (37.7% ± 21.7%, P = 0.28). Exercise delivered by group video conferencing may be a feasible and potentially effective approach for increasing MVPA in adults with Down syndrome.

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