Importance of Exercise
Recent advances in surgical treatments and medical care have resulted in greater survival rates and longer lifespans in persons with DMD. As a result, physical impairments and deficiencies in mobility are an issue in this population. Rimmer et al.(2012) have shown that people with disabilities perform less physical activity than their non-disabled peers, which places them at a higher risk for cardiometabolic disease. In addition people with SB have been shown to exhibit higher body mass index (BMI), reduced aerobic capacity, lower functional ambulation, and lower muscular strength compared to people without SB (Luisuwan et al., 2007; Schoenmakers et al., 2009).
Children with SB should engage in holistic physical activity programs at a young age, to enhance the chances of a more physically active lifestyle with aging. Group exercise programs or sports should be encouraged to facilitate psychosocial health. Buffart et al. (2009) have demonstrated that daily physical activity (specifically aerobic exercise) in people with SB was associated with improved quality of life and decreased physical difficulties with activity. The literature involving exercise and people with SB is currently sparse. The exact frequency, intensity, time, and type of exercise for optimal health benefits are still unknown, especially when severity of disability is considered. At a minimum, people with SB should aim to achieve an equal dose of exercise as people who are non-disabled: 150 minutes of moderate-intensity per week, which can be completed in 3-5 days of moderate intensity exercise 30-60 minutes per session (in accordance with American College of Sports Medicine guidelines). An individually tailored exercise program that focuses on a progression of flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular fitness should be incorporated.
Other benefits following exercise may include:
- Prevents deconditioning, and promotes function and endurance
- Helps prevent obesity
- May help improve constipation, resist infection, improve mood, reduce stress, prevent diabetes and atherosclerotic heart disease, and helps lower blood pressure