Studies have shown that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who are encouraged to incorporate a consistent exercise plan into their daily routine are more focused, and less likely to present problem behaviors in the classroom. Exercise helps children complete tasks with fewer distractions, and enhances their ability concentrate.
A game of kickball, relay racing or something as simple as playing hopscotch can enhance cognitive function and improve behavior in the classroom environment. Games such as soccer, basketball and volleyball are great team games that help kids learn cooperation and how to help each other succeed. Martial arts, ballet, or gymnastics are good options for kids who may not be interested in team sports. Jumping rope, juggling, running, throwing, catching and bike riding are all good ways for kids to get moving.
A planned physical exercise program can be divided up into short 20-30 minute segments and easily integrated into the daily morning and afternoon schedule. Children with ADHD are often reluctant to participate in team oriented activities. Providing these children with the opportunity to exercise in manageable spurts at their own pace has proven to be beneficial both in the classroom and at home.
What Are Some Benefits of Exercise?
A study conducted in 2012 by the Institute of Medicine revealed that fewer than half of the children in the United States are getting enough exercise. The C8 Sciences team has developed a program that addresses this disturbing trend by combining brain training exercises with daily physical exercise. The result has been encouraging and exciting to educators, school administrators, and delighted parents.
The social benefits of exercise are unparalleled for children with ADHD. Kids love to play. There is nothing like the fun of an exercise program that builds confidence, team cooperation and self-esteem. Our program includes over 100 exercise options that are geared to develop a spirit of cooperation among the participants. The social skills learned on the playground and in the gym carry over into the classroom to foster a team spirit that is beneficial to both teachers and students.
There are many basic health benefits derived from a consistent exercise program. Exercise reduces the incidence of high blood pressure, childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. Kids who exercise regularly have less body fat and stronger muscles and bones than children who lead sedentary lifestyles. Exercise develops strength, endurance and increased flexibility. Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart, lungs, and increases blood flow to the major organs.
How Does Exercise Help Kids With ADHD?
There are a number of chemicals released from the brain when a person begins to exercise. These chemicals and compounds regulate pleasure centers, mood changes and even pain centers in the brain. A child with ADHD has a shortage of these chemicals, which can lead to the inability to focus, and problems performing familiar tasks without frustration. This feeling of helplessness is overwhelming to the ADHD sufferer. The onset of the cycle of inappropriate behavior can be redirected through a planned and rewarding exercise program.
Children feel a sense of empowerment when they participate in team building games and activities. Encouragement from peers and coaches make kids feel important and successful. Children with ADHD receive a special benefit from these types of activities. Dopamine levels increase with exercise. The increase of Dopamine in the system helps the child increase his level of consistency and focus while reducing the need for new stimuli, a common problem facing children with ADHD. The impulsive behaviors often exhibited by children with ADHD can be reduced with the implementation of a consistent exercise routine.
Revoking Recess May Backfire
Many schools use recess as a reward system for good behavior. If a kid “acts out” in class, or doesn’t complete an assignment, he may be sidelined to sit by the teacher while his classmates run, jump and climb on the playground. Often, it is the child with ADHD who loses recess time. All kids need active playtime, especially those with ADHD. Recess is a time for kids to let themselves go and have fun. If a child is deprived of that opportunity, his pent-up energy will have to emerge in another way, probably in the form of more acting out in the classroom!
ACTIVATE™ Combines Physical Exercise with Brain Training Exercise
The researchers and scientists at C8 Sciences have designed a unique physical exercise program in conjunction with Dr. Jinxia Dong, former Chinese National Gymnast, and professor of sports studies at Peking University. The ACTIVATE™ program consists of a large variety of challenging physical movements that begin slowly and gradually increase to a more challenging set of exercises and activities. Students have so much fun as they become immersed in the series of exercises and games that they aren’t aware of the complexity and study involved in the development of the program. Educators and administrators are amazed when they see their students eagerly participating in the program and looking forward to the next exercise session. Participating schools report increased student enthusiasm, better control in the classroom and higher scores on cognitive test scores within weeks of implementing the program.
Keep Kids Moving While Skills Are Improving!
Exercise is a key component when it comes to providing a well-rounded and successful education to children with ADHD. The tendency to squirm and wiggle in the seat, disrupt other students and become anxious after 10 minutes of classroom instruction can be greatly reduced by simply adding exercise to the daily curriculum. Exercise keeps the body and mind in optimal shape. A few minutes of exercise will make a world of difference in the child’s ability to think clearly without distractions, engage confidently in social activities and resist the impulsive behaviors that often lead to trouble in the classroom. If the sun is shining, a 20 minute recess can help a student return to the classroom ready to learn. A basketball or dodgeball game in the gym on a rainy afternoon will accomplish the same goal. Help your student with ADHD be all he can be. Encourage him to run, jump and play on the playground and at home. Inspire him to get involved in a team sport with his peers on the playing field. He will be as amazed with himself as you are with him!