Adults with learning disabilities are at particular risk from being overweight or obese, an increased risk of specific serious health threats, and a lower life expectancy.
Wu et al (2017) reported that overweight or obese individuals with learning disabilities who took part in a 12-week exercise programme for 50 minutes five days a week, achieved a reduction in weight, BMI and fat mass. As well as improvements in cardiorespiratory performance, balance and strength.
It’s no secret that exercise is good for the body. But did you know that it can also help improve cognitive function. In fact, a recent study showed that just 30 minutes of moderate exercise can help improve memory and brain function in adults with Down syndrome.
Benefits of Exercise.
So, how does exercise help?
- The most obvious benefit is it helps to lose weight. This lowers the chance of getting health problems like diabetes and heart disease and helps one live longer.
- Helps the brain to function more efficiently and can improve memory, concentration, and learning.
- Exercise has been shown to improve focus and attention in adults with ADHD, and it is thought to work by improving the efficiency of the brain’s executive functions (the ability to plan, prioritise, and stay on task).
- improve social skills in adults with learning disabilities and it is thought to work by reducing anxiety and improving mood.
How to Get Started?
If you’re supporting an adult with a learning disability, starting an exercise program may seem daunting. But there are plenty of ways to make it enjoyable and easy to stick with. Here are a few tips:
- Encourage sports and activities that they enjoy: If one is not a fan of running on the treadmill, don’t do it! There are plenty of other options for getting exercise, so find something that they enjoy and stick with it.
- Make it fun: Exercise doesn’t have to be all about hard work and sweating. Find ways to make it fun, such as playing games, listening to music, or working out with friends.
- Hire a coach: A personal trainer can help you develop a safe and effective exercise program that meets your unique needs.
- Get support: Exercise can be more enjoyable and easier to stick with when you have the support of family and friends.
Remember that you don’t have to push one to the limit to benefit from exercise. Start slow and gradually increase the intensity and duration of their workouts as they become more fit.
To conclude, exercise has many benefits for people with learning difficulties. The main one being it can help to lose weight which will have an impact on one’s physical health. It can improve cognitive function, focus and attention, social skills, and behavior. Exercise is also a great way to reduce stress, improve mood, and boost overall health and well-being. So get out there and start moving!
Need Help with Exercise?
Meet my client Jack (Jack ‘The Man’ James). Jack has Down’s syndrome and is on a weight loss journey. When I first met Jack, We both sat down together and designed a workout plan that he enjoys and most importantly sticks to. Jack has trained with me 3 times a week since November 2021 and in that time he has managed to lose 7KG, improved motor skills, gained confidence in the gym and has made a lot of new friends.
If you’re looking for help getting started with an exercise program, I can help. I have experience working with adults with learning disabilities, and I know how to make exercise fun and enjoyable. Contact me today for a free consultation!