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October 1, 2022

The Ability Connection

Issue #1

Down Syndrome Awareness Month 

In the 1980s, the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) worked with others to have October proclaimed “Down Syndrome Awareness Month,” or “DSAM,” and this designation continues today. It is a month to raise awareness and celebrate the many abilities of our loved ones with Down syndrome.

Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder associated with physical growth delays, characteristic facial features and mild to moderate developmental and intellectual disability. It is caused by the presence of full or partial extra copy of chromosome twenty-one and is also referred to as Trisomy 21. This extra copy changes how the baby’s body and brain develop, which can cause both mental and physical challenges for the baby.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), even though people with Down syndrome might act and look similar, each person has different abilities. Down syndrome is a lifelong

condition. Services early in life will often help babies and children with Down syndrome to improve their physical and intellectual abilities. These services focus on helping children with Down syndrome develop to their full potential. These services, typically offered through early intervention programs, include speech, occupational, and physical therapy.

Individuals with Down syndrome are at a higher risk of becoming obese and have a higher prevalence of muscle weakness and low bone density. Obesity is associated with a variety of health conditions such as sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes. For this reason, encouraging physical activity is vital in the health of individuals with Down syndrome. Bio Ability strives to support those with Downs syndrome. Our adaptive fitness program will collaborate closely with the therapists to provide services that support the same goals.

Five Strength Exercises for Down Syndrome

  1. Chest Squeeze
    • Sit up straight.
    • Hold a rubber ball right in front of you at chest level.
    • Contract your chest muscles by squeezing the ball.
    • Push the ball forward away from your chest in front of you as you continue to squeeze.
    • Pull back to the front of your chest.
    • Repeat this for 12-15 reps.
  1. Shoulder Blade Squeeze
    • Sit up straight.
    • Relax your arms by your side.
    • Push shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together in the back.
    • Repeat this for 12-15 reps.
    • If you want to add more intensity to this exercise, you can hold a resistance band in front of you pulling to the sides while squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  1. Knee Lifts
    • Stand up straight.
    • Lift your right leg in front of you as high as you can while balancing on your left and hold for 5 seconds.
    • Return your foot to the ground.
    • Lift your left leg in front of you as high as you can while balancing on your right and hold for 5 seconds.
    • Repeat the exercise alternating legs 2-15 times.
  1. Chair Squat
    • Place a stable chair behind you. Stand in front of the chair facing forward with feet shoulder width apart.
    • Sit into the chair until your bottom touches and stand right back up while keeping your back straight.
    • Complete 12-15 reps.
  1. Plank
    • Lie down on your stomach with legs extended and arms at your sides.
    • Bend your arms at the elbows, placing forearms to the side of your shoulders.
    • Push up off the ground, keeping your back straight and parallel to the floor.
    • Balance on toes and forearms for as long as you can. Try to build up to 1 minute then you can make it harder by holding the sit-up position with palms on the floor instead.

What’s happening?

Recognizing the overwhelming need to serve the disabled community, BIO Ability was formed.  We strive to develop programs and services specifically designed for their therapeutic, recreational and special needs, inclusive of their families and the able-bodied public.  To start we will offer small group and one on one services in adaptive fitness and sport training, including adaptive Gymnastics and Autism Fitness.  We will offer a variety of services for all ages and abilities in our facility and out in the community.  

Bio Ability currently offers limited services at Bio Gymnastics.  Once Bio Gymnastics moves we will take over the current building and expand our services.  We anticipate this sometime early 2023.  

If you would like to support this effort, please consider becoming a volunteer, donating or purchasing something from our wish list, posted on our website.  We look forward to servicing this special, underserved part of our community.

Muscle of the Month – Abdominals

Your abdominal muscles have many essential functions, from holding organs in place to supporting your body during movement and spine during sitting, standing, bending over, twisting, exercising, and singing.   There are five main muscles: pyramidalis, rectus abdominus, external obliques, internal obliques, and transversus abdominis.

Abdominal Muscles: Anatomy and Function (

Click here for a beginner abdominal workout.

10 Minute Beginner Ab Workout – Beginner Abs for Everyone! – Bing video

Recipe of the Month: Easy Caramel Apples Recipe: How to Make It (


Remove stems from Granny Smith apples and thoroughly wash and dry; insert pop sticks into tops. Line a baking sheet with parchment and grease the parchment; set aside.

Place caramels and water in a small saucepan; cook and stir over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes or until smooth, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Dip each apple in caramel mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Place on prepared pan. Refrigerate until set.


Nutrition Facts

1 dipped apple: 305 calories, 6g fat (2g saturated fat), 5mg cholesterol, 163mg sodium, 65g carbohydrate (54g sugars, 2g fiber), 3g protein.

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