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Center for Motor Behavior & Pediatric Disabilities

Treadmill Procedures Used in Our Clinical Trial

We began the treadmill training when an infant could sit independently for 30 seconds. In some cases this may have been a little too early since some infants did not step much for the first month. If we were to do the study over again, training would not begin until the infant could support a little of their weight on their feet.

We placed a treadmill in the home and trained parents how to hold their infant during the exercise sessions. Parents were asked to exercise their infant 5 days per week for 8 minutes per day from entry into the study until they began to independently take 3 to 4 steps. Generally, infants began exercising for one- minute bouts followed by a one- minute rest. They continued this sequence until the infant received 8 minutes of exercise in a day. Parents gradually increased the length of the exercise session prior to giving the infant a rest. All infants eventually exercised for 8 continuous minutes. This process becomes easier as the child is willing and able to extend their legs and support their weight on their feet. Many infants could have exercised for 10-12 minutes once they began to take a lot of steps (40 per minute).

Based on what we observed during this clinical trial, most infants with Down syndrome should be encouraged to be upright on their feet as early as possible after achieving good head control. Supporting them in this posture will help to develop adequate leg strength needed to support their own weight. This leg strength is a critical prerequisite to stepping on the treadmill and walking independently.

Father holding Child

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Center for Motor Behavior & Pediatric Disabilities
401 Washtenaw Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2214
(734)936-2607, Fax (734)936-1925

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Copyright © 1999 The Regents of the University of Michigan
Created September 1, 1999