2.12.18: Exercise Mellows and Focuses the Minds of ADHD Kids
As the parent of an ADHD kiddo, I’m always looking for ways to tweak our lifestyle to allow my son to harness his “gifts” to his advantage. There’s no doubt that movement alleviates his symptoms and allows my little guy to focus more in class. He’s in the running club, the yoga club and plays flag football on weekends. But what to do when our son is expected to sit in a classroom for 2-3 hours at a stretch?
Research has consistently demonstrated that movement sparks discernable, positive changes in the brain that increase attention and improve mood. In addition, exercise is a cheap, non-medical, and accessible complementary ADHD treatment option for children. Exercise causes kids to be less impulsive, making it easier for them to be receptive to classroom lessons.
When you move your body, your brain releases chemicals like endorphins that regulate mood and pain levels. Physical activity also raises dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in the brain, increasing focus and attention in a regular and consistent manner that reduces the ADHD child’s constant need for new stimuli. Even 30 minutes of movement a day can help kids function and feel better.
More schools are including exercise in their classrooms to help kids do better, learn more, and feel successful. A school in Colorado starts off students’ days with 20 minutes of aerobic exercise to increase attention. If kids act up in class, they aren’t given time-outs, they are given “time-ins” — 10 minutes of activity on a stationary bike or an elliptical trainer. The result is that kids are empowered to self-regulate their mood levels and attention spans through exercise.
Interested in learning more? Talk with your teachers about integrating more non-competitive physical activities into the school day. Exercise doesn’t have to be limited to gym class!
Flashfit is an easy, fun-to-use app provides aerobic and strength-building exercises in one-minute bursts. Your school can build teams and groups, compete and gamify to increase engagement and reward participation. No special equipment needed – students can move their bodies anywhere. And, Flashfit is offering $100 grants and special support to schools deploying the program. Applications are due February 28, 2018. Find more details and apply here: http://dev-flashfit.pantheonsite.io/grants/
Sources: ADDitude, Child Mind Institute