Special fitness class keeps people with Down syndrome active

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Antonio Granados works out in Friday's ExDS class. 2 Feb. 2018 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Antonio Granados works out in Friday's ExDS class. 2 Feb. 2018 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
ASU Clinical Assistant Professor Simon Holzapfel. 2 Feb. 2018 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) ASU Clinical Assistant Professor Simon Holzapfel. 2 Feb. 2018 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Sometimes getting healthy is not so easy, especially for people with disabilities. For many of them, the gym can be an overwhelming place. 

"People with Down syndrome are typically pretty sedentary compared to the general population, and sometimes their exercise motivation is lacking," said ASU Clinical Assistant Professor Simon Holzapfel.

Holzapfel thinks he's come up with a solution. Three times a week at the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA in Phoenix, he holds a fitness class for a special group of people. He calls it ExDs, or Exercise Program for Adults with Down Syndrome. 

"A person with down syndrome isn't going to go to say LA Fitness, walk in, and be ready to exercise on their own. So there's a need to have a guided program with personal trainers," said Holzapfel. 

Those who attend get a one-on one workout for free. 

The instructors are receiving something too. They're all ASU students, learning how to best serve special needs communities. 

"I think that's really important because I'm going to go into occupational therapy and I'm going to be working with pretty much the same kiddos and everything," said Michelle Hoang, one of the class's instructors. 

Having fun in the process is just an added bonus.

"I think it is a really important thing to be social and get to know other people," said Rosalie Granados, who's son Antonio attends the class. 

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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