Wednesday, October 31, 2007

31 for 21: Gettin' cardio early

(Update: I've included the article...for those of you that had trouble earlier.)

My long-lost buddy Mary sent me a link to an interesting article.

Treadmill training helps Down syndrome babies walk earlier

CHICAGO (AFP) - Treadmills can help infants with Down syndrome learn how to walk months earlier than traditional therapies, a new study has found.

Parents of 30 babies with Down syndrome were asked to help their children walk on the treadmills for eight minutes a day, five days a week. They sat on a bench which straddled the machine and held their babies as the treadmill belt encouraged them to take steps.
This exercise helped the babies learn to walk up to four or five months earlier than traditional physical therapy alone, the study found.

More intensive training helped the babies to walk even sooner, the study found. The intensity of the training for half the babies was increased gradually after the infant could take 10, 20, and 30 steps per minute. The speed of the treadmill was increased, as was the length of training. Some children were also given light weights on their ankles.

Children with Down syndrome generally don't learn to walk until 24-28 months, about a year after children without developmental disabilities. Getting them walking sooner can help improve their social skills, motor skills, perception and spatial cognition, said study author Dale Ulrich of the University of Michigan's Division of Kinesiology.

"The key is if we can get them to walk earlier and better then they can explore their environment earlier and when you start to explore, you learn about the world around you," Ulrich said. "Walking is a critical factor in development in every other domain."

Down syndrome occurs in about one out of every 700 births.

Ulrich said he hopes hospitals and support organizations will rent the treadmills -- which cost about 1,200 dollars -- to parents of children with Down syndrome. The study was published in the October issue of journal of the American Physical Therapy Association.
I think this is pretty cool, and we have a treadmill, so I might have to be starting the introduction to it so she's not afraid of it.

Thanks, Mary!


  1. Our PT told us about this study when Georgia was born. It's cool to see the results!

  2. Sounds good to me... but the link only turned up a "404 Not Found" result.

    Keep us posted!


  3. Hey that sounds really neat! The link is not working though,bummer.Karen K

  4. Hey that is really cool! Sounds like they had some great results with it. Let us know if you start that with her. Karen K

  5. So this study proves that treadmills can be used for other purposes besides dust catchers and clothes racks:)

  6. Wow! That is great news...and I wanted a treadmil for Christmas!

  7. Sounds like Braska and I will need to spend some time on the treadmill when I'm there, so she can get practice and so I can get skinnier :o)

  8. Guess it's time for me to pull the treadmill out of the closet; I'll try not to let it mock me, but just focus on helping Ian. (He's got a few more months before that, anyway.)


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