Exercise and ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder with symptoms that include inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. During childhood, ADHD may interfere with academic and social performance. For adults with ADHD, the disorder can interfere with work and personal relationships. Five per cent of school-age children are reported to have ADHD, with some reports as high as 9%, and 4% of the adult population is reported to have ADHD.

For those with ADHD, finding the best treatment is very important because of the effects of ADHD on so many activities of daily life. Although treating ADHD with medication is the preferred treatment, in recent years, psychosocial training, cognitive training, and exercise have been explored as viable treatments alone or in a multi-modal treatment approach. Many studies have suggested that exercise improves cognitive function in the general population. More recently, studies utilizing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have suggested that exercise may elicit positive effects for those with ADHD. Because exercise increases dopamine some people with ADHD are able to decrease, or even discontinue, their stimulant medication. Therefore, research supports exercise as part of a multi-modal approach to treat ADHD.

Kari Lewis, Ed.D. will present this topic at the Southern District of the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance in Orlando, Florida on February 9, 2012.