Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects millions of children worldwide. It is characterised by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, which can make it difficult for children to focus, learn, and control their behavior.
While there is no cure for ADHD, there are a number of effective treatments available. But did you know that exercise is one of the most promising lifestyle interventions for ADHD?
How Exercise Helps Children living with ADHD
There is a growing body of research showing that exercise can have a significant positive impact on children with ADHD. Some of the benefits of exercise for children with ADHD include:
- Improved attention and focus: Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which can help to improve attention and focus.
- Reduced hyperactivity: Exercise provides a healthy outlet for excess energy, which can help to reduce hyperactivity.
- Improved impulse control: Exercise can help children to develop better control over their impulses.
- Improved mood and sleep: Exercise can help to improve mood and sleep, which can further reduce ADHD symptoms.
How Much Exercise is Enough?
The Australian Department of Health and Aged Care recommends that all children and adolescents get at least 60 minutes of moderate – vigorous physical activity each day. For children with ADHD, sometimes even more exercise may be beneficial.
The type of exercise that is best for a child with ADHD will depend on the child’s individual needs and preferences. However, some good options include:
- Aerobic exercise: Aerobic exercise, such as running, swimming, or biking, is a great way to get the heart pumping and improve cardiovascular health.
- Strength training: Strength training can help to build muscle and improve coordination.
- Yoga or Pilates: Yoga and Pilates can help to improve flexibility, balance, and body awareness.
Tips for Incorporating Exercise into a Child’s Routine
It can be challenging to get children living with ADHD to exercise regularly. However, there are a few things that parents can do to help:
- Make exercise fun! Choose activities that your child enjoys.
- Start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time and intensity of exercise.
- Set realistic goals and celebrate successes.
- Be consistent: Make exercise a regular part of your child’s routine.
Talk to Your Paediatrician, GP or Allied Health Professional
If you have any questions or concerns about exercise and your child’s ADHD, talk to your child’s care team. They can help you to develop an exercise plan that is safe and effective for your child.
Exercise is a safe, effective, and natural way to manage ADHD symptoms. By incorporating exercise into your child’s routine, you can help them to improve their attention, focus, and behavior.
Our paediatric clinicians are well positioned to advise on exercise interventions that can be effective for your child living with ADHD – contact us to find out more.