Stronger Bodies, Stronger Minds

Mindsets Study Karate Athlete

Welcome to the Mindsets Wellness Program

Preregistration is open!

Welcome to the Mindsets Wellness Program! Joining Mindsets is your first step towards building healthy habits that focus on fitness, nutrition, and self-care. This free program was designed based on the results of the Mindsets Study to give adults with Down syndrome the life skills and habits needed for a healthy, active, lifestyle into adulthood and throughout aging.

Through the Mindsets Wellness Program, participants will:

  • Build a daily exercise routine with recommended exercises from the Mindsets Study
  • Learn new sports and activities with the Mindsets Mentors through one-to-one videos
  • Build a weekly nutrition-based meal plan
  • Learn about mental health and how to practice self-care
  • Play cognitive games that enhance memory, focus, and concentration
  • Track your wellness journey through the Mindsets app

If you or someone you know is interested in joining, please preregister by providing your information below.

Preregister for Mindsets Wellness Program

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Your Health Journey Starts Here

Meet Your Mindsets Mentors

Try a new sport or activity with your Mindsets Mentors! Choose from a library of one-to-one videos with these experienced athletes across North America. Discover rock climbing with Wyatt, figure skating with Meg, weight lifting with Kyle, or running with Abigail!

Kyle Landi Mindsets Mentor

Kyle Landi

Weight Lifting

Kyle Landi is the first competitive bodybuilder with Down syndrome in Canada, taking the stage at many international events. When he isn’t competing, Kyle is working hard in the gym with his stepfather Joe and other professionals to push himself and his body to new limits.

Meg Ohsada Mindsets Mentor

Meg Ohsada

Figure Skating

Meg has been an athelete from a young age, winning several Special Olympic medals for her figure skating routines. Sometimes finding the right words to say is hard. That’s why Meg likes to express herself through her creative choregography and music selections.

Aaron Waddingham Mindsets Mentors

Aaron Waddingham


Aaron is a martial artist, recently achieving his yellow belt in Taekwondo. Discipline, strength, and flexibility are all required to master the kicking and punching techniques. Aaron shows the same confidence in the dojang as he does while acting!

Wyatt Mindsts Mentor

Wyatt Smuszko

Rock Climbing & Basketball

Wyatt is always up to try new sports and activities! That’s how he likes to stay active and meet new people. Wyatt has played basketball for many years, and has recently taken up the new challenge of rock climbing to help build strength and confidence.

Jessica Parsons Mindsets Mentor

Jessica Parsons


Jessica is a yoga instructor who has been practicing almost her entire life thanks to her mother, Sue Anne. Jessica is a community leader, teaching an inclusive yoga class at a local community center to help others build strength and confidence.

Abigail Adams Mindsets Mentor

Abigail Adams


Abigail the Advocate is an accomplished triathlete and public speaker. She is the first woman with Down syndrome to complete a sprint triathlon, swimming 440 yards, riding 10.2 miles, and running 5K, and has since finished over 15 of them.

Paul Sawka Mindsets Mentor

Paul Sawka


When Paul isn’t busy as our Awareness Leader, he’s in the pool or playing baseball! Paul has been swimming for many years, competing in the Special Olympics and as a long-time member of the Calgary Dolphins Swim Club.

Julia Lane Mindsets Mentor

Julia Lane


Julia is a multisport athlete and public speaker who is excited to try anything including rowing, swimming, and CrossFit! She holds two gold medals and a bronze in the CrossFit Games Adaptive ID and recently took home 5 medals in swimming at the Special Olympics.

Tyler and Eli Mindsets Mentor

Tyler and Eli


Learn how to shoot hoops with this awesome duo, Tyler and Eli. These brothers use their large social media following and love of basketball to advocate for inclusion for people with disabilities. Tyler is famous for sinking some very impressive three-pointers!

New Mindsets Mentors and activities will be added to the program often, so you’ll always have something new to try!

Mindsets Study

The Link Between Exercise and Cognition

In 2020, the global research study Mindsets began seeking the answer to a really simple yet important question that no one had ever asked, can physical activity benefit cognitive processing for an individual with Down syndrome?

This research study by Dr. Dan Gordon of Anglia Ruskin University is a missing piece of the puzzle for the Down syndrome community. The data collected plays a vital role in guiding the Mindsets Wellness Program and improving the quality of life for people with Down syndrome throughout adulthood and aging.

How was The Mindsets Study Data Collected?

With the support of BrainHQ, we launched an 8-week research study facilitated by Dr. Dan Gordon from Anglia Ruskin University. Our goal was to scientifically quantify how much physical exercise affects mental fitness for individuals with Down syndrome.

Over 80 individuals participated in the two-year study. Depending on their role in the study, participants performed physical exercises from home, like light stationary biking or light jogging, as well as mental exercises and brain games provided by BrainHQ.

Dr. Dan Gordon and his team of researchers used this data to measure the precise impact exercise has on cognition over time, showing that the combination of light exercise and cognitive exercises can lead to improved information processing and attention after just eight weeks.

Canadian Down Syndrome Society

“I am a firm believer that exercise helps people with Down syndrome, but we need to continue to prove it. And the way we do that is with good research.”

Dr. Brian Skotko, MD, MPP, Director, Down Syndrome Program Mass. General Hospital

Mindsets Key Findings

Researchers noted a significant improvement in speed and accuracy of decision making for the exercise-only group, the cognitive training group, and the combined group.

Results suggest that exercise should be adopted within the Down syndrome community to promote physical and cognitive

Researchers found a significant reduction in errors and an increase in correct responses in a series of cognitive and executive function exercises in those who exercised.

“Improved cognitive function can lead to increased quality of life, which is important given this is the first generation of people with Down syndrome who will generally outlive their parents.”

Dr. Dan Gordon, Associate Professor in Cardiorespiratory Exercise Physiology at Anglia Ruskin University and Senior Author of The Mindsets Study

Mindsets Study FAQ

Who were the participants in the study?
The participants were collected from an international campaign by the Canadian Down Syndrome Society. A total of 83 English-speaking individuals 18 years or older with Down syndrome participated.
Why did CDSS conduct this study?

This study was conducted to collect the data necessary for creating an effective wellness program and to establish a link between exercise and cognitive ability for people with Down syndrome. The goal of publishing this research is to improve the quality of life for people with Down syndrome by encouraging an active lifestyle.

What is CDSS going to do with this information?

We are collecting insights and data to develop a wellness program supported by the findings from the Mindsets study. We have also publicly released the results of the study for other organizations to use to inform and guide the creation of their own wellness programs and initiatives.

What does this study mean for individuals with Down syndrome?

This study has shown that cognitive ability increases when combined with exercise. That data will help to shift the way fitness is overlooked when it comes to health for individuals with Down syndrome. Encouraging an active lifestyle will become commonplace, improving the quality of life for Canadians with Down syndrome.

Who were the researchers?

Lead Researcher:
Associate Professor Dr Dan Gordon. Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK

Research Assistant:
Miss Viviane Merzbach. Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK

Support the Mindsets Wellness Program 

Make a donation to CDSS today to support the Mindsets Wellness Program and give Canadians with Down syndrome the opportunity to build a a healthy, active lifestyle.