Archive for February 26th, 2013

Image from Mentalhealth.net

Image from Mentalhealth.net

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Recently I was reading about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and wondered if there have been any studies done about exercise and ADHD. Kids with ADHD tend to be restless fidgety and have a hard time sitting down and performing the demands of Westernized school work (Sitting and focusing on reading or math without moving). I also have heard that many schools have limited gym, music and art classes due to budget cuts and that some schools even limit recess. In winter, recess is often moved indoors to the gym, if the school has a gym!  So what is the effect on children, especially children with ADHD?  I would imagine they would become even more restless and fidgety.

So I took a look at WebMD, a fairly reputable source of medical info on the web. And what I found did not surprise me!  According to WebMD, physical activity was a valid treatment for kids with ADHD, especially those that do not respond well to medication. AND even more important, WebMD states that spending time in nature can also be calming for children diagnosed with ADHD, regardless of whether they are on medication. WebMD is pro-medication and I understand their position as a medical site. I would not advocate that we take kids with severe symptoms of ADHD off medication and just let them frolic in the park. (Although it would be pretty wonderful if our schools made nature walks and playing physically more important role in child development.) But it’s great to know there is actually scientific evidence that promoting physical activity and time outdoors in nature as a treatment option for kids with ADHD! And for adults with and without ADHD, nature walks and physical activity is pretty great too!


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