Although it may seem paradoxical, a new study finds that a structured physical activity program can help children who suffer from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Children with ADHD often struggle with hyperactive impulses and have trouble maintaining attention.
Researchers discovered performing defined physical exercises helped children improve muscular coordination and motor skills, and enhanced their ability to process information.
The study is discussed in the recent issue of the Journal of Attention Disorders.
In the study, researchers implemented a physical activity program that included a warm-up, aerobic activity, muscular and motor-skill exercises, and a cool-down for 10 children with ADHD.
The objective of each session was to maintain moderate to high-intensity activity throughout each session as observed by a heart-rate monitor.
“A main finding of this study is that both parents and teachers observed better behavioral scores in the physical activity group,” wrote the authors. “This could mean that positive effects of physical activity may occur in different settings of the children’s life.”
As a part of the research design, the authors monitored 10 children with ADHD who were participating in the physical activity program three times a week and 11 different children with ADHD as part of a control group.
Upon conclusion of the intervention, researchers commented that school and families should embrace rather than avoid exercise intervention for children with ADHD.
“Considering the beneficial effect of physical activity participation on some important ADHD-related variables, schools and parents of children with ADHD should look to maximize opportunities for structured group physical activity in their children’s life.”