La Trobe study needs volunteers

By Hannah Knight
Updated November 7 2012 - 6:38am, first published December 26 2011 - 11:04am
Pumped: Robbie Rostolis, study participant.
Pumped: Robbie Rostolis, study participant.

YOUNG adults with Down syndrome are being invited to take part in a community-based strength program.Part of a La Trobe University research project, the initiative aims to investigate whether exercise and using weights in the gym is beneficial for people with Down syndrome.Participants will be teamed with physiotherapy students and randomly allocated to an exercise test group or a social control group.La Trobe University lecturer Dr Nora Shields said the program was already underway in Albury but Bendigo participants were needed.“We’ve about 20 physiotherapy students all ready to go so we’re looking for about 12 young people with Down syndrome to get involved,” she said.“We’re looking for male and female participants between the ages of 14 and 22.“We cover all costs, including the gym membership for the exercise group and money for social activities.” Dr Shields said the study would explore links between strength and fitness and the ability to complete manual work.“The kind of jobs that this group tends to do are manual tasks because of their cognitive impairment,” Dr Shields said.“The problem with this is that their bodies aren’t really designed to do this because their muscles are a lot weaker than in people without Down syndrome.“So what we’re looking at is, if we make them stronger, can they do more?”Dr Shields said the physiotherapy mentors would help motivate the participants.“We’re also looking at the fact that young people with Down syndrome are generally not engaging in enough physical activity to maintain good health,” she said.“They can’t just walk in to a gym and jump on the treadmill, they need to be talked through it. It can be a really, really positive experience.”For more information about the program phone Dr Nora Shields on 9479 5852.

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