Exercise & Fitness > Response to Exercise

How do people with PWS respond to exercise?


Poorly, initially. They do not like to take on anything that requires effort or anything that is new to their routine.


To be effective, the exercise needs to be regular. This is best achieved by making the exercise a part of their accepted routine. It is best if it can be done at the same time each day. Exercising before a meal or snack is good, but if the person suffers from regular constipation, or slower stomach emptying, exercising about 30 minutes after a meal will help.


Much praise is needed for effort and completion of the exercise! Praise must be genuine. They will see through false praise and likely become opposed to continuing.


Start small and increase gently. Discuss the need to increase the exercise as they become fitter.


Competitiveness can be very positive. It is much more encouraging if you join in the exercise  - eg walking with your person with PWS or competing with their efforts, for example on a treadmill. Having the person with PWS compete with himself/herself to try to do “as good as” or “better than” the previous exercise session, is another way of encouraging the exercise.


Working towards a goal can be very helpful, especially to initiate a regular exercise pattern.


Perseverance is essential! That means your encouragement and support for the person with PWS to exercise must be ongoing. This can be hard, but is doable!


What is effective exercise?

Effective exercise works you! It increases your breathing rate, makes your heart beat faster and may cause sweating. By having your person with PWS walk, cycle, swim, dance or similar at an intensity that produces a “working” level they will improve their fitness, gain muscle, lose fat and have an improved mood.



Other Topics

Download our free guide for parents

Further information:

> Guidance for families

Not found what you're looking for?

Get in touch and let us know how we can help you with any enquiry about Prader-Willi syndrome and how our organisation works.

Get our email updates



Keep up to date with the latest news, stories and research from the PWS community.


Salisbury House
Station Road
Cambridge CB1 2LA

  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

Registered as a charity in England & Wales, charity no. 1182873