Recent Studies on Physical Exercise and ADHD Corroborate ACTIVATE™’s Unique Approach to ADHD Therapy

When it comes to addressing ADHD symptoms in children, there have been extensive studies concentrating on medication and very few concentrating on adjunctive therapies. While Ritalin, Adderall and other promising medications have proven effective, the scientists behind the ACTIVATE™ program wanted to explore therapeutic territory left largely ignored. Now, C8 Sciences’ bold approach to ADHD therapy is being corroborated by some major new scientific studies.

While ACTIVATE™ takes a multi-pronged approach to cognitive training, the physical exercise portion of the program has always been key in getting extraordinary results. Mainstream science has lagged in linking physical exercise and ADHD improvement, but a new study from Michigan State University shows that ACTIVATE™’s remarkable achievements are no fluke.

MSU Study Uncovers New Clues

Led by MSU’s Alan Smith and the University of Vermont’s Betsy Hoza, the study included roughly 200 elementary school students, some of whom exhibited ADHD symptoms and some of whom did not. Over a 12-week period, the children were randomly chosen to either complete a physical exercise program before school or stick with more sedentary activities. Researchers concluded that while all the children benefitted from the early-morning exercise, the children with ADHD symptoms experienced the best results.

The researchers said that as little as 30 minutes of exercise each morning could have a dramatic effective on ADHD symptoms in children, providing an all-but-conclusive link between exercise and cognitive training. But MSU is only one voice among many. A study published this year in Pediatrics medical journal came to similar conclusions. Carried out by the University of Illinois, the study found that kids who took part in physical activity regularly showed improvement in the areas of cognitive performance and brain function.

Executive Control – The Breakthrough

The latter study is particularly interesting because it showed a causal link between exercise and executive control. As regular visitors to C8 Sciences already know, ADHD is about much more than “distraction.” The most cutting-edge researchers in the field believe it is an executive control dysfunction, impairing inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. That’s why any study that demonstrates the benefits of physical exercise as it pertains to executive control is extremely interesting. It’s also why ACTIVATE™ places a premium on the physical exercise component of the program.

These recent findings, of course, dovetail beautifully with what Dr. Jinxia Dong has been saying for years. Dr. Dong designed the physical exercise portion of the ACTIVATE™ program, drawing on both her experience in the study of neuroplasticity and her background as a Chinese National Gymnast. Incorporating more than 100 different exercises into the routine, the program emphasizes team-building, social intelligence, and cooperation.

A New Way Forward

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 11 percent of children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. Diagnosis rates continue to grow, and many psychiatrists use medication as the first line of defense rather than a last resort. That’s not to demonize medication in any way, but most parents agree that they would prefer to explore natural ADHD therapy before Ritalin.

And if recent studies are any indication, it may come down to getting active. According to a May 2012 report from the Institute of Medicine, less than half of America’s kids get enough exercise. The same report concluded that an abysmal 4 percent of elementary schools incorporated daily physical education into the curriculum. Now, with so much evidence suggesting a direct link between exercise and the reduction of ADHD symptoms in children, ACTIVATE™’s exercise and cognitive training programs are more relevant than ever.