How Exercise can Help Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

03/09/2015 19:09

Does your child find it hard to focus on the task at hand? Does he easily get distracted? Or have  you noticed hyperactivity in his behavior? If the answer to all the questions is yes, then your child might be suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. If you experienced a sudden sting of fear after realizing that your child has it, do not worry. ADHD is not something you can’t do anything about. This article will help you understand the disorder better so you can find ways to eliminate it or at least manage it to give your child a chance at a better life.

What Exactly is ADHD?

ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most commonly observed brain disorders in children that has known to continue through childhood and adulthood. The most common symptoms of the disorder include difficulty in paying attention and controlling behavior. Children who suffer from ADHD usually find it hard to succeed in academic endeavors and personal tasks that include simple everyday chores at home.

Common symptoms of ADHD

Here is a list of common symptoms of ADHD:

  • Difficulty in maintaining focus and tendency to make careless mistakes in simple tasks
  • Easily distracted by trivial environmental sounds that are mostly ignored by others
  • Inability to finish school work on time or other tasks that require concentration
  • Frequently shifting from one activity to another
  • Procrastination
  • Disorganization
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inability to keep mind on conversations (inability to listen to other people.)

So, How can Exercise Help?

According to John Ratey, M.D., an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, “Think of exercise as medication. For a very small handful of people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD ADD), it may actually be a replacement for stimulants, but, for most, it’s complementary — something they should absolutely do, along with taking meds, to help increase attention and improve mood.”

John Ratey delivers a powerful message for those suffering from ADHD. Exercise can be a great way to improve focus and build concentration towards imperial tasks. For children, exercise is more important than the adults. Why, you may ask? Because physical activity affects children more. According to research, children who spend more time with commercial playground equipment or any other play structure for that matter are more focused than children who spend time indoors in front of a TV screen.

John Ratey further expressed his opinion regarding exercise by saying that “Exercise increases dopamine levels. When you increase dopamine levels, you increase the attention system’s ability to be regular and consistent, which has many good effects.

Ratey further suggested that “Studies have also found that activities such as ballet, and gymnastics, in which you have to pay close attention to body movements, tax the attention system. A very good thing for kids and adolescents with ADHD.” A simple backyard activity that involves a good old-fashioned  outdoor playground equipment can do wonders for kids with ADHD. So, make sure that your child has ample time for outdoor activities to make sure that your child has the chance to fully utilize its potential.