The effect of taekwondo training on strength and balance of young adults with Down syndrome
Carter, Kathleen A.
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According to the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS, 2012) 1 in every 691 babies born in the United States is born with Down syndrome (DS). In addition, life expectancy for people with DS has increased dramatically. With advances in medical care the number of individuals with DS living into older adulthood will continue to increase, with typical consequences of aging such as decreased strength and balance becoming more pronounced in this population. Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) are born with lower levels of strength than typically developing (TD) infants as well as having delayed development of balance. The lower levels of strength and balance continues throughout their entire lifespan. This study provided taekwondo training 2 times per week for 10 weeks to 22 young adults with DS as a different method of improving strength and balance. A control group of 22 young adults with DS was used for comparison. Lower body strength was measured utilizing hand held dynamometry (HHD), static balance was measured using the modified Clinical Test for Sensory Integration and Balance (mCTSIB) in the eyes open and eyes closed conditions and dynamic balance was measured utilizing limits of stability (LOS). Lower body strength was significantly improved in the taekwondo group at each assessment over time while the control groups’ strength levels remained unchanged. The taekwondo training group did not significantly improve static balance in either eyes open or eyes closed condition or improve dynamic balance ability. The lack of improvement may be due to lack of proper assessment orientation in some of the participants or the intervention was not of significant length to elicit physiological changes. No injuries or adverse incidents occurred due to training which may indicate taekwondo is an activity that is feasible and fun for this population.