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ADHD Kids Benefit From Exercise
Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) behave better when they exercise, recent research suggests.
Over theِ lastِ fewِ years, studies inِ animals andِ people withِ ADHD haveِ shown exercise mayِ reduce impulsivity andِ improve attention.
The findings suggest exercise couldِ beِ used asِ anِ alternative ADHD treatment, orِ inِ combination withِ medications, experts say.
Researchers emphasize thatِ studies soِ farِ have beenِ small, andِ much moreِ work isِ needed toِ validate theseِ results.
Exercise benefits for ADHD
Currently, manyِ of thoseِ who treat children withِ ADHD believeِ exercise isِ helpful, andِ some useِ exercise recommendations asِ anِ adjunct to, butِ not replacement for, medication, Oatis said.
Exercise andِ ADHD medications act onِ the brain inِ very similar ways, saidِ Thomas Lenz, anِ associate pharmacy professor atِ Creighton University inِ Omaha, Neb.
Both areِ thought toِ increase levels ofِ brain chemicals called dopamine andِ norepinephrine, whichِ helpِ people think, focus andِ control theirِ actions, Lenz said.
Researchers have just begun to study exercise as a potential treatment for ADHD.
Recently, Betsy Hoza, a psychology professor atِ the University ofِ Vermont, andِ colleagues studied 17 children withِ ADHD, ages 5 toِ 8.
The kids participated inِ 30 minutes ofِ moderate-to-vigorous exercise, suchِ asِ playing tag, beforeِ school.
After eightِ weeks, children showed improvements inِ impulsivity andِ aggression, andِ were lessِ likely toِ interrupt others, Hoza said.
Take away recess?
It’s a common scenario forِ children withِ ADHD toِ haveِ recess takenِ awayِ asِ punishment forِ acting outِ inِ class, saidِ Ruth Hughes, clinical psychologist andِ CEO ofِ Children andِ Adults withِ Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), whoِ oftenِ hears fromِ parents aboutِ the issue.
The needِ forِ that physical activity isِ important forِ these kids.
You’re actuallyِ just pulling awayِ the treatment theyِ needِ to makeِ that behavior becomeِ more inِ line, Lenz said.