Even though amphetamines are the most common tool used to fight symptoms and signs related to ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), in the recent period more experts are recommending mental exercises which are able to help people rebuild their attention span.
Establishing good cognitive control and management, being able to focus on one thing at a time, might be possible with the help of a specially designed video game that is able to strengthen cognitive modulation. This is definitely impressive, but many experts agree that physical activity is more effective.
A few days ago, the popular Pediatrics medical journal revealed a study that confirmed that children who were involved in physical activity programs on a regular basis witnessed significant improvement of cognitive performance.
In addition, their brains were working better. Charles Hillman, a professor at the University of Illinois and his team, say that these results show a casual impact of a specially created physical program on brain control and bring support to proper cognitive development in children. At the same time, physical activity keeps the brain healthy. So, it turns out that physical activity is an excellent choice for any child, but it is especially important for kids that are hyperactive and/or attentive.
Although this might be a little bit shocking for some people, the fact us that physical exercise programs for children are not high on the priority list when it comes to school activities despite the fact that physical activity can help kids during other classes.
The enhancement in this situation was noticed in executive control. This control includes inhibition (staying away from distractions and keeping focus), cognitive flexibility (going from one task to another without problems) and working memory.
The images we have shared in this article clearly highlight the brain activity in children who finished this exercise program compared to the ones that were not part of this program. The differences are obvious. However, this scientific study was just nine months long and it needs more research.
If we look at the results, we can all agree that it may be a good idea to include more exercise options for our children. A few weeks ago, another scientific study has shown that a 3-month physical exercise program helped children improve their reading and math skills and the results were especially positive in kids with ADHD.
It is a known fact that executive functioning is weakened in ADHD sufferers. Alan Smith, who is also the head of the Michigan State’s department of kinesiology, told the press that they have evidence that physical activity and exercise have a positive impact on kids dealing with ADHD.
One year ago, a separate scientific study revealed in the Journal of Attention Disorders has shown that about 25 minutes of physical activity a day for two months, drastically eased the symptoms of ADHD in children between 7 and 15. So, what we can confirm is that physical activity is definitely promising when it comes to suppressing ADHD signs and symptoms in kids.
Researchers have confirmed that this study should be expanded because it’s promising.
According to the same researchers, in case physical activity is used as a way to treat ADHD, doctors should take the complementary impact of this activity and regular treatment techniques into account. These suggestions are amazing, given that most doctors today prefer prescribing amphetamines to kids suffering from ADHD making them even more inactive.
In the last five years, we have witnessed an increase of 25% in prescribed amphetamines. This has become a multi million business for many pharmaceutical companies. While these drugs can help, they are rarely eliminating the problem, so using physical activity as an option is always a good idea.
Generally speaking, the modern trend of physical inactivity in both kids and adults, is one of the most serious challenges when it comes to global health. According to official statistics, this inactivity is directly responsible for one in ten premature deaths. Of course, death is not the only problem caused by inactivity. The scholastic performance is seriously affected too.
For instance, a study conducted by Dt. Paul Nystedt, a professor of finance at Swedish Jonkoping University has confirmed that obese teens will earn 20% less money when they grow up compared to their peers even if they drop weight in the future. Mr. Nystedt is convinced that he adversity felt by obese children created by their peers and teachers creates non-cognitive and cognitive problems.
Finally, according to John Ratey, a professor of psychiatry at the famous Harvard University, there are more and more people who view exercise as a remedy for ADHD. Fact is that even low-intensity exercise boosts mood and improves cognitive performance by supporting the brain’s production of serotonin and dopamine.
In other words, physical activity acts in a similar fashion like Adderall, the famous stimulant drug. Three years ago, Ratey was part of a TED talk where he claimed that physical activity is most important for the brain not for the body.
According to Ratey, being physically active on a regular basis provides the same effects as taking a small amount of Ritalin and Prozac all the time. This might sound a little bit extreme to some people and many of them avoid the tips of people who were part of a TED talk, but think about this – what can you lose if you get involved in physical activity?