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How can exercise benefit the brains of kids with ADHD?

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Exercise isn't just good for toning muscles. It can help keep the brain in shape, too.

When kids exercise, the amount and mix of chemicals called neurotransmitters their brain releases change. Neurotransmitters include dopamine, which is involved with attention.

The stimulant medicines used to treat ADHD work by increasing the amount of this same chemical in the brain. So it makes sense that a workout can have many of the same effects on children with ADHD as stimulant drugs.

In studies published in the Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, kids with ADHD who exercised performed better on tests of attention, and had less impulsivity, even if they weren't taking stimulant medicines.

From: Exercise for Children With ADHD WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Medina, J.A. , March 2010. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Chang, Y.K. , March 2012. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology

Gapin, J. , December 2010. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

Kang, K.D. , December 2011. International Journal of Sports Medicine

Gapin, J. I. , June 2011. Preventive Medicine

American Heart Association: "Physical Activity and Children."

Taylor, A.F. , March 2009. Journal of Attention Disorders

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch on July 28, 2016

SOURCES:

Medina, J.A. , March 2010. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Chang, Y.K. , March 2012. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology

Gapin, J. , December 2010. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

Kang, K.D. , December 2011. International Journal of Sports Medicine

Gapin, J. I. , June 2011. Preventive Medicine

American Heart Association: "Physical Activity and Children."

Taylor, A.F. , March 2009. Journal of Attention Disorders

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch on July 28, 2016

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How does exercise work on children's brains with ADHD?

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