Physical exercise as ADHD treatment: Necessary but not sufficient

Posted on June 10, 2014

Can exer­cise reduce behav­ior prob­lems and enhance cog­ni­tion in chil­dren with ADHD?

Results from mul­ti­ple stud­ies indi­cate that exer­cise mit­i­gates aging-related declines in cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing and that it may enhance cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing in older adults. Exer­cise has also been shown to be an effec­tive treat­ment for mild to mod­er­ate depression.

What about the impact of phys­i­cal exer­cise on chil­dren with ADHD? Many par­ents whose child has ADHD report that phys­i­cal activ­ity is help­ful, so one might expect that this issue has been care­fully stud­ied. How­ever, although there have been lit­er­ally hun­dreds of stud­ies of med­ica­tion treat­ment for ADHD, almost no research on exer­cise as an ADHD treat­ment has been con­ducted.

Sev­eral years ago, how­ever, results from a longer trial of phys­i­cal activ­ity in chil­dren with ADHD were pub­lished [A phys­i­cal activ­ity pro­gram improves behav­ior and cog­ni­tive func­tions in chil­dren with ADHD: An exploratory study]; these results speak more directly to the promise of exer­cise as a treat­ment for ADHD.

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Category(s):Adult ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Source material from Sharp Brains


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