Major Goals of a Fitness Program for Persons with Developmental Delay
- The goal of a fitness program should be to expend 200 to 400 calories a day. Higher fit individuals should target the higher number (400 calories), and lower fit persons should aim for 200 calories a day and ultimately 300 calories after the first six months of training.
- Use the 3-2-1 principle when developing your fitness program. A 1-hour exercise session per day should include 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, 20 minutes of strength, and 10 minutes of flexibility.
- A fitness program should include as much variety as possible. For example, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, walk for 30 minutes, lift weights for 20 minutes and perform flexibility exercises for 10 minutes. Do this at different times of the day (morning, afternoon, and evening). On Tuesday and Thursday, ride the stationary bike for 15 minutes and perform a dance video for 15 minutes. On the weekends, go hiking in a local park, swim during the summer months or ride a bike (three wheeled bicycles are becoming more popular).
- Set your goal for 60 minutes a day of physical activity. Break it into as many sessions as necessary to reach this goal: two 30-minute sessions (during lunch hour and before dinner), three 20-minute sessions (before each meal), four 15-minute sessions (before each meal and a mid-afternoon break). The goal is to achieve 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity per day.
- A structured fitness program should always be approved by the person's physician. The more strenuous the exercise program, the greater the importance in having an extensive medical evaluation before starting the program.