Inspiratory Muscle Training and Physical Fitness in Children With Down Syndrome: A Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Mohamed Ali Elshafey
    Department of Physical Therapy for Pediatrics, Faculty of Physical Therapy, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
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  • Reham Saeed Alsakhawi
    Corresponding author: Reham Saeed Alsakhawi, PhD, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics Physical Therapy Department, Faculty of Physical Therapy, Cairo University, Egypt, Assistant Professor, Rehabilitation Sciences Department, College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
    Department of Physical Therapy for Pediatrics, Faculty of Physical Therapy, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

    Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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      To investigate the effect of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) on physical fitness in children with Down syndrome (DS).


      Randomized control trial.


      The study was conducted in a private physical therapy center.


      Forty boys and girls with DS aged between 7 and 10 years were enrolled in this study (N=40). They were randomly and equally divided into 2 groups (A and B).


      All participants received 30 minutes of aerobic exercise training 3 times per week for 12 weeks, whereas group B received an additional 30 minutes of IMT before each aerobic exercise session.

      Main Outcomes Measures

      Physical fitness of the participants was assessed before and after the treatment using the 6-minute walk test (6MWT), Gio Digital Pressure Gauge, and Brockport Physical Fitness Test.


      This study measured maximal inspiratory pressure; maximal expiratory pressure; submaximal aerobic endurance using the 6MWT; and strength and endurance using the curl-up, dumbbell press, trunk lift, standing long jump, seated push-up, pull-up, flexed-arm hang, and back-saver sit and reach tests.


      There was a significant improvement in the physical fitness of the children who underwent aerobic exercise. However, children who received IMT and aerobic exercise training demonstrated even more significant improvements in physical fitness than those who received aerobic exercise training only.


      List of abbreviations:

      BMI (body mass index), BPFT (Brockport Physical Fitness Test), DS (Down syndrome), IMT (inspiratory muscle training), MEP (maximal expiratory pressure), MIP (maximal inspiratory pressure), 6MWT (6-minute walk test)
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