As of 2017, approximately 11 percent of U.S. children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD. There are many different ways to treat ADHD with medication and therapy, but exercise could be another key to managing its symptoms. Proven to help attention and focus and improve self-esteem, exercise is a natural mood booster and anti-depressant in one.
Of course, physical activity is great for every child, whether diagnosed with ADHD or not. Kids that are more active have lower rates of obesity, anxiety and stress. Exercise also helps build good, healthy habits that will extend into their adult years. Kids who do have ADHD, however, may enjoy even more benefits from exercise.
A recent study showed that regular physical activity decreased the severity of ADHD symptoms and improved cognitive functioning in children. It doesn’t take a major time commitment, either. Even just 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise can have an impact on focus and mood.
While exercise isn’t the cure all for ADHD, it’s another tool to help a child function and feel better in their day-to-day life. But, which activity to choose?
Competitive team sports may not be the best option for kids with ADHD, but with that in mind, ask your child what he or she wants to do. Being an active participant and helping select an activity that suits a child’s individual needs and wants will help foster a lifetime of enjoyment. The following activities are perfect for children diagnosed with ADHD.