While children who suffer from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) struggle with hyperactive-impulses and have trouble maintaining attention, a recent study found that a structured physical activity program may help to improve their muscular capacities, motor skills, behavior assessments, and the ability to process information. This study, "A Physical Activity Program Improves Behavior and Cognitive Functions in Children with ADHD: An Exploratory Study," was released in the recent issue of the Journal of Attention Disorders (published by SAGE).
Authors Claudia Verret, Marie-Claude Guay, Claude Berthiaume, Phillip Gardiner, and Louise Béliveau enrolled ten children in a physical activity program that included a warm-up, aerobic activity, muscular and motor-skill exercises, and a cool-down. The objective of each session was to maintain moderate to high-intensity activity throughout each session as observed by a heart-rate monitor.
"A main finding of this study is that both parents and teachers observed better behavioral scores in the physical activity group," wrote the authors. "This could mean that positive effects of physical activity may occur in different settings of the children's life."
The authors monitored ten children with ADHD who were participating in the physical activity program three times a week and eleven different children with ADHD as part of a control group.
The authors wrote, "Considering the beneficial effect of physical activity participation on some important ADHD-related variables, schools and parents of children with ADHD should look to maximize opportunities for structured group physical activity in their children's life."