When most people think about treatment for children with ADHD, the first option that comes to mind is medication. While there are both stimulant and non-stimulant options that have proven to be useful in minimizing and eliminating ADHD symptoms, studies have found that there are other helpful options to consider.
In fact, a study conducted in 2014 found that exercise decreases the severity of ADHD symptoms. The study also found that children with ADHD who participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day also experienced improve cognitive function.
Benefits of Exercise
Exercise not only keeps the body in shape, it also fine tunes the brain. Physical activity causes chemical changes to neurotransmitters in the brain. For example, exercise is linked to the release of dopamine which impacts attention and happiness. Because of this, exercise is said to have similar effects of stimulants used to treat ADHD.
Excise is also good for circulation and healthy blood flow throughout the body. Some children who suffer from ADHD have less blood flow to certain areas of the brain, especially those responsible for behavior, planning, thinking, and emotions.
By encouraging your child to stay physically active, you may be able to save money on Vyvanse costs and other treatments that you’re using for your child. Here are 5 exercises for children with ADHD that have proven to be successful in minimizing symptoms.
Dancing is one of the most exciting and easy ways to get your child up and moving. Who doesn’t like to grove to their favorite songs? Dancing not only helps to burn extra energy, it also gets the heart pumping and can even be a fun activity for the whole family.
If dancing for a full 30 minutes seems like an impossible feat, break dance sessions into two 15 minute chunks. In 15 minutes you and your child can listen to your favorite tunes, burn calories, and boost your bodies and brains.
- Martial Arts
While some parents are against martial arts because of the idea of fighting, many fail to understand the true benefits of martial arts. For children with ADHD, martial arts are the perfect exercise to stimulate the mind and body. Unlike other forms of physical activity, martial arts are highly structured and require mental and physical strength. Other benefits of martial arts include:
- Ability to learn self-protection techniques
- Not competitive based
- Focuses on personal growth
- Sets concrete goals
- Lessons are taught in chunks
- Teaches concentration and self-control
Since there are various forms of martial arts, you’re sure to find one that your child enjoys. Be sure to look into judo, taekwondo, and even karate.
Olympic gold-medalist Michael Phelps was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, and the sport of swimming has since driven his success and career as a professional Olympic athlete.
Swimming is one of the few exercises that is a true full body workout. Being in the water provides a sense of calm and concentration that you don’t find with many other sports. If your child loves being in the water, swimming is one of the best exercises. The constant and methodical movement will help decrease energy levels and the self-discipline will help with concentration and focus.
- Coordination Activities
Aerobic exercise is perfect for children of all types, but especially those who suffer from ADHD. When you add coordination to the mix, you not only have physical activity, but mentally stimulating activity as well. By getting your child involved in exercise that requires concentration, you can help improve your child’s ability to focus.
The activities you choose should require precise coordination and accuracy. Hopscotch is the perfect example. Not only does it get your kid up and hopping around, it also requires leg coordination and mental stimulation by identifying numbers in each of the squares.
- Head Outdoors
When the temperatures are nice, there’s no better way to knock out some exercise by heading outdoors. Nature is known to have a positive impact on children, especially those who suffer from ADHD. Fresh air is known to improve a child’s ability to focus and concentrate on certain tasks. Being outdoors can also increase impulse control and patience.
Spend a few hours outdoors hiking, fishing, or even just running on a paved path through the woods. For more concentration-based exercise, give fishing or camping a try. The excitement and fun of being out in the wild is sure to help your child with ADHD.
Even though medication is often the go-to choice for children suffering from ADHD, there are simple changes, such as an increase in physical activity, that have also been successful in minimizing ADHD symptoms. The best part? Exercise comes with no side effects, only health benefits! Here’s to getting up and moving.