Exercise & Fitness > Types of Exercise

What types of exercise are important for people with PWS?

Strengthening exercises

Exercising specific muscle groups will strengthen muscles and increase the number of muscle fibres to build bigger muscles. These exercises can be done with weights to have a better effect on strength. They are repetitive movements of the muscle. As the muscle becomes stronger the number of repetitions is increased.


Aerobic exercise

To improve the fitness of our heart and lungs as well as “burn” fat, exercise must be of an aerobic nature. When exercising aerobically we take in more oxygen and use large muscle groups, usually involving the whole body for a continual movement. Examples of aerobic exercise are walking or dancing or swimming or cycling.


How to start

It is important to match the exercise to the person’s own ability and current level of physical activity.

If your person with PWS is doing no exercise and you know they are hard to motivate, start slowly! Talk with them about the idea of starting an exercise regime to make them strong and improve their fitness. It also helps to offer an incentive or some competition. For example, you might suggest to them that  you also want to “get fit”. “Let’s see if I can keep up with you when you exercise!”

Suggesting an appropriate reward may also help get them motivated. “If you can cycle for 10 minutes on 3 days each week”, or “if you can walk (swim/dance/row/cycle) for 10 minutes 5 days per week”, you may have a can of diet drink on Saturday .  It is important to have someone “supervise” or join them in the exercise. You, or someone else, could tell them you (or someone else) also wants to get fit and will join them to see who can do the best.


When initiating an exercise program for someone who is not particularly active they may start by exercising for 10-15 minutes 3 times per week, then increase the time up to 30-60 minutes, 5 days per week.


Other examples of aerobic exercise include: treadmill walking, rowing, gym circuit classes, skating, roller-blading, horse riding.


When a person with PWS is exercising regularly and effectively they may reach a stage where extra energy intake is indicated. One additional serve of low fat protein can be included in their regular, restricted food intake. For example, 1 extra slice of lean meat or chicken could be added to their usual lunchtime sandwich, if they continue to lose weight.

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