Individuals with Down Syndrome benefit from regular exercise, with gains measured in physical parameters, basic daily function, and job performance.

Unfortunately, there are often issues that make consistent exercise difficult to initiate or maintain. Many facilities are not designed for, or do not welcome, those with physical and intellectual challenges.  Those with Down Syndrome have a higher incidence of congenital heart conditions, decreased exercise tolerance, and decreased muscle tone. These differences should be considered when designing workout areas and individual exercise programs.

Exercise programs that are structured, stimulating, and varied are most likely to be successful, with activities that aren’t viewed as “typical” exercise regimens being most engaging. Small groups consisting of 2-3 people with DS and a supervisor have been shown by Shields et al. to have over a 90% retention rate.


5 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Gym

1. How will the staff interact with members?

It is important that you feel welcome the moment you step into the door until the moment you leave. A staff should be friendly, supportive, knows members by name, and welcoming individuals regardless of activity level, medical condition, or appearance.


2. Is the facility accommodating to all types of members?

When entering a facility, is it cluttered or uncluttered, crowded, have soft or loud music, and make you feel comfortable or anxious. The environment affects your ability to focus on instruction and technique.


3. Is your exercise program safe and appropriate?

If you have not exercised often or been to a gym, it is important to know that what you will be doing is safe and appropriate. Does your exercise program take into consideration your medical conditions and exercise experience? Is there a staff member that is responsible for creating an individualized exercise program tailored to your needs?  


4. Do the trainers have degrees in Exercise Science, Athletic Training or related field? Are they willing to learn and adapt to each member?

Personal trainers can be certified online, trained over a few weeks, or go to a university for a degree. When picking a trainer, make sure they have the knowledge and training to adapt to each individual they work with.


5. Does the facility offer guidance and support?

Starting and sticking to a workout program is more difficult for some individuals than others. Do the facility support individuals who don’t know what they are doing or are uncomfortable? Do the staff members support your overall goal and motivate you to want to come back.  


Motion 4 Life is a facility that welcomes members of all activity levels, medical conditions, or appearances. Our facility prides ourselves on accommodating our members to make them feel as if at home. Our environment has softer music, a social area, and is clean. Each member completes a health history which is reviewed by our Physician Medical Director. Personal Physicians are contacted as needed for medical clearance. A fitness assessment is done to assure an appropriate program is designed. Our programs are designed by our highly qualified four-year degree trainers who will make sure your program is safe and appropriately tailored to your needs. The staff will be there every step of the way to guide and support you along your fitness journey!


Carol Weesner, MD


Motion 4 Life Fitness


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7 am – 7:30pm

Sat     8 am – 12 pm


14801 Market Center Drive
Suite 100, Carmel, IN 46033

(148th & Gray Road, Carmel / Westfield)

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