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ADHD in Children Health Center

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Exercise for Children With ADHD

How Exercise Helps Thinking and Behavior

One of the areas in which kids with ADHD have particular trouble is with executive function . That's the set of problem-solving skills we use to plan and organize.

A lack of these skills makes it hard for your ADHD child to remember to finish his homework or to take his lunch with him when he leaves for school. Exercise may improve executive function in kids with ADHD.

Many kids with ADHD also struggle socially and with their behavior. Playing a sport can have the added benefits of improving both of these areas.

In studies, kids who exercised got in trouble less often for disruptive behaviors such as talking out of turn, name calling, hitting, moving inappropriately, and refusing to participate in activities.

Because of all these benefits, exercise can boost the effectiveness of ADHD medicine when they are used together. It also can help kids who haven't responded to stimulant drugs or other ADHD medications.

More Reasons to Exercise

Beyond helping ADHD symptoms, there are many other reasons to get kids to exercise. Engaging in regular fitness activities can help kids:

Exercise should be one part of a well-rounded ADHD treatment plan, which may also include medicine and therapy. See a pediatrician, psychologist, or psychiatrist to come up with the best ADHD treatment plan for your child.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on July 11, 2014
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