Exploring Long-Term Effects of Exercise on ADHD
The importance of exploring the long-term effects of exercise on children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is based on findings that at least 20 minutes of it can help settle these children to read or even solve math problems. At Focused Education we understand just how important exercise is in the life of a child with ADHD or Dyslexia…or both! (don’t worry it’s actually really common, your child just needs the right support)
This is of course not a conclusive statement that categorically declares that exercise is the pill that will cure ADHD. In the study conducted on 40 children from eight to ten years old, the short-term effects have been promising and help them focus better on the learning task at hand.
Lead researcher Matthew B. Pontifex of Michigan State University in East Lansing asserts that this initial study affirms findings from other research works about the positive relationship between the thought and memory processes of adults that engage in habitual exercise activities.
The stimulating effects of exercise on children with ADHD is an entirely different matter, which is why its long-term results should be studied side-by-side with conventional treatment methods like medication. The growing number of teachers, doctors, and parents that advocate exercise for children with ADHD cannot be neglected as well.
Everything seems to centre on whether allowing children with ADHD engage in regular exercise would boost their ability to perform or focus on school work. At this point, Pontifex concedes that the mechanisms on how positive effects are delivered are not yet clear.
Short-term gains are associated with the under arousal of the central nervous system that keeps the attention of these children to the task at hand. This creates an interesting scenario worth exploring considering that 44 percent of children with ADHD in the United States are not in any form of medication to control the problem.
Seeking these forms of alternatives to medication is also beneficial to help cut down the doses of those relying on medicines. Pontifex cautions parents against jumping the gun on this new research and encourages them to continue any medication while allowing their children to become more physically active. After all, exercise is known to provide huge benefits for all children regardless whether they have ADHD or not.
Executing the Study
To make sure of the accuracy of the research, the 40 children were drawn from within the same age range and family-income level. One group is free from ADHD while the other is suspected or has already been diagnosed with the condition.
After 20 minutes of quiet reading or treadmill exercise, every child took standard tests for the cognition, spelling, reading, and math abilities. Pontifex noted that children from both groups showed dramatic improvements with those with ADHD registering about 80 percent correct responses after reading and about 84 percent after exercising; the group without ADHD got around 90 percent after exercising. Results of the study were published in The Journal of Pediatrics and opened probabilities on how these would translate to the future of children with ADHD.
At Focused Education we integrate exercise and game play into all our tutoring, speech and occupational therapy sessions for children with ADHD, Dyslexia and high functioning Autism. It’s just so important to each student’s success.
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