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Before School Activity Can Reduce Symptoms of ADHD

Symptoms of ADHD

Exercise – of course beneficial for all children – has been found to be especially helpful for children with ADHD. Taking time out during the day for a little physical activity is linked to having better focus, improved working memory, and less impulsiveness.


Exercising anytime of the day is beneficial, but new research suggests that getting kids up a little earlier for a bout of aerobic exercise can be particularly helpful for easing ADHD symptoms.

Researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Vermont studied about 200 early elementary school students ranging from kindergarten to second grade. Some had ADHD and some did not. Over the 12-week study period, the kids were randomly assigned to either participate in a before-school moderate-to-vigorous exercise activity or complete more sedentary classroom-type activities.

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Exercise appeared to benefit all of the participants, but those with ADHD who participated in physical activity before school showed improved brain function and had better math and reading skills.

“Physical activity appears to be a promising intervention method for ADHD with well-known benefits to health overall,” says Alan Smith, chairperson of MSU’s Department of Kinesiology. "This gives schools one more good reason to incorporate physical activity into the school day."

Journal Reference:
Betsy Hoza, Alan L. Smith, et al. A Randomized Trial Examining the Effects of Aerobic Physical Activity on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms in Young Children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s10802-014-9929-y

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