ADHD and Physical Activity

“Exercise before school may help reduce ADHD symptoms”

Kindergarten is a year of huge transition for most children. Imagine just a month before was summer time. Every day was filled with swimming and playing on the swingset, unlimited hours of reading, playing games, and watching movies. Maybe the child attended a summer camp where they spent their days singing and dancing and wiggling about with other children. Suddenly, school begins. They may not have been introduced to rules or procedures before.

The idea of sitting still for hours and staying quiet is laughable. With seemingly more children being diagnosed with ADHD every year, how can we help our young students be more successful?

ADHD can cause the average behaviors of a five-year-old to be escalated. Your everyday kindergartener is already inquisitive and talkative, which can lead them to be inattentive. Many may not have much previous social experience so they may have a difficult time getting along with others and sharing.

These behaviors are only magnified further in young children with the symptoms of ADHD, with the additions of moodiness and boulder-like resistance to change.

In order to combat some of these symptoms in both ADHD-high-risk students, as well as average young children, researchers at Michigan State introduced a twelve-week-long program of physical activity for local elementary school students. Their results were definitely positive. Children who participated in activity in general saw improvements in focus and academic scores. Those who participated early in the day, before class, saw these effects magnified.

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The results were twofold for children with ADHD. The activity was also beneficial to the children’s overall health and would likely contribute to a reduction in obesity and related diseases. The study is now continuing to try and master the amount of activity that will best serve different groups of children based on their individual profiles.

As teachers, we often do not value “specials”. We enjoy a break in the day but when we are halfway through a lesson, it seems silly to have to stop so our students can go play games in gym class. This study proves that those breaks in the day, such as physical education and recess, are good for students’ success. In fact, they may be necessary.

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ADHD and Physical Activity. (2021, Dec 27). Retrieved from

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