Organizing ADHD exercise in children might be OK if you are living in a fairly green area or you have outdoor facilities nearby. But, if you are a single parent with a low income, there is no chance that you can do that.
Did you know that many low income families are likely to get their kids put on Ritalin, because they simply cannot afford other alternative ADHD treatments? Black families have to avoid their kids being suspended from preschool so the medication is an easier option for them
Even more shocking is the fact that there are approximately 15,000 toddlers (2-3 years old) who are being put on medication (Ritalin) for ADHD. These figures were released by the CDC. The actual lower age limit is 4 (as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.) But hold on, isn’t a 2 year old still a baby? How can you talk of attention span, lack of focus or even impulsive behavior at that age??
Rant over. Let us look at the five fantastic benefits of exercise and ADD. There are also many studies which show that it really does work, although some of the studies dealt with small numbers.
1. ADHD symptoms are less severe after exercise
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As I said, lots of studies. One mentioned in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology is that some 2nd graders were given some playful activities to keep them moving while others were given a sedentary activity. This went on for about 3 months. When they were asked afterwards, parents and teachers noted that the ADHD exercise for kids groups were definitely quieter and less moody than their counterparts.
2. The brain functions better after exercise
Research at the University of Illinois studied 8 and 10 year olds. They found that the fitter ones had more compact white matter networks in their brains, thus leading to sharper focus and longer attention span. These kids were given the chance to do about 20 minutes activity on a treadmill or to play a game sitting down. Test scores afterwards showed that the exercise and ADD kids were doing better on test scores. More time in the fresh air is absolutely essential.
Think of exercise as a way of switching on certain areas of the brain which help kids to follow sequences, remember things, help to prioritize and keeping attention levels high. Actually this benefits all kids, whether they have ADHD or not.
3. Exercise can help to reduce ADHD medication
This is the opinion of Dr. John Ratey an expert on ADHD from the Harvard Medical School. Again , he favors Tweet: morning exercise routine for ADHD kids. . That could be simply playing with a jumping rope or just running around. Results show that medication can be reduced and in some cases, stopped altogether.
Dr. Ratey has been involved in the BOKS initiative which is now helping to organize three to four weekly exercise sessions of 45 minutes in about 1,000 elementary school in many US states. This type of ADHD exercise for kids is of great benefit.
4. It is not expensive and easily accessible
The great thing about any ADHD exercise treatment program is that it is easily accessible, provided you live in a neighborhood with adequate outdoor areas, which are suitable for kids. There are no side effects, except perhaps tired children who will now get a better night’s sleep. Many ADHD kids are plagued with sleeping disorders so this is a great solution.
5. Exercise releases endorphins
Everybody knows that once you start exercising, you start to release endorphins in the brain. These regulate your mood and you always feel better, because of this. ADHD kids get greater benefits because they are also able to pay more attention and stay focused for longer.
One school in Colorado has invented the ‘time- in’, rather than the ‘time- out’. A regular feature of the school day is that they do aerobic exercise for 20 minutes each morning. This increases alertness. Any kids who are misbehaving get a time-in where they have to 10 minutes on an exercise bike, or treadmill. When kids realize that exercise is actually helping them to be focused and get better test scores, this is extremely empowering.
Now all you have to decide is where, when and how. As to the actual sports and exercises recommended, it is worth bearing in mind that individual sports are better for ADHD kids. Any lack of concentration or impulsive action will not have any negative effects on other team members.
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