Exercise as a Non-Drug Treatment for Kids With ADHD

We’ve talked about exercise helping seniors prevent dementia. But researchers are also finding that a few minutes of exercise can also help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) perform better academically.

A recent Michigan State University study shows for the first time that kids with ADHD can better drown out distractions and focus on a task after a single bout of exercise. The results are important because they suggest exercise as a possible nonpharmaceutical tool for preventing ADHD.

While drugs have proven largely effective in treating many of the 2.5 million school-aged American children with ADHD, a growing number of parents and physicians worry about the side effects and costs of medication.

The study had 40 children aged 8 to 10, half of whom had ADHD, spend 20 minutes either walking briskly on a treadmill or reading while seated. The children then took a brief reading comprehension and math exam similar to longer standardized tests. They also played a simple computer game in which they had to ignore visual stimuli to quickly determine which direction a cartoon fish was swimming.

The results showed all of the children performed better on both tests after exercising. In the computer game, those with ADHD also were better able to slow down after making an error to avoid repeat mistakes—a particular challenge for those with the disorder.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring and ADHD programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

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