Most of us know that children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, as it is commonly known, can be impulsive, hyperactive and difficult to handle, even for the parents.
ADHD is defined as, “A brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.”
It is estimated that nearly 11 percent of children aged 4 to 17 (6.4 million children) are living with a diagnosed condition of ADHD. Shouldn’t we, as parents, guardians and caregivers, learn more about ADHD and how physical activities might help these children manage their symptoms?
Top Physical Activities for Children with ADHD
Behavioral experts, psychologists and child health specialists have studied ADHD and its characteristics for ages and have been successful in finding various therapies and medications that seem to help children and adults with ADHD.
One of the main problems with these individuals is their inability to concentrate on one subject or activity for too long. While exercise can help boost mood and relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety, it can also enhance concentration and improve overall well-being. Apart from these benefits, exercise can also reduce the risk of obesity and instill the need for healthy routines in children and adults.
Experts studying the behavioral patterns of individuals with ADHD have found that physical activities might provide similar benefits to individuals with ADHD too. Some studies specifically show that following a regular exercise routine, even as short as 30 minutes a day, may reduce the extent of symptoms and improve the brain’s functioning in many children.
Before we look at activities that can benefit children with ADHD, it is important to understand what types of activities will not work for them. Experts recommend picking sports or activities that do not need large crowds because that can often make it difficult for these children to focus. They might be better off with smaller groups or individual activities like martial arts or dancing, which they can do alone if required.
Some physical activities that might support and enhance focus and concentration in children with ADHD include:
- Running: Running is said to increase stamina and confidence even in adults, so when children try this activity, they might get a wonderful sense of fulfillment for their ability to run fast or run certain distances. It might also help them focus better because the action involves placing one foot in front of the other to avoid tripping and falling.
- Cycling: Cycling can help improve mood and its rhythmic movement can also help children learn more focus because they need to synchronize the movement of their legs to keep their legs on the pedals.
- Dancing: Dancing may be beneficial because it requires children to follow instructions and dance to the beats. Freestyle dancing may also work perfectly for children with ADHD because their wandering thoughts can be turned into new steps.
- Swimming: Swimming, which again has a synchronized movement, might help children learn to focus. The champion swimmer, Michael Phelps, also reaffirms the benefits of swimming and says that swimming may have helped him cope with his own ADHD diagnosis.
- Martial arts: Martial arts like karate and taekwondo can help children improve their motor skills, learn self-control, respect for others and overall discipline.
While these physical activities may not cure ADHD, they may help children with the condition gain better control over their symptoms and lead better lives as adults too.
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Ashford, K. (n.d.). The Best Activities for Kids With ADHD. Retrieved from https://www.parents.com/health/add-adhd/the-best-activities-for-kids-with-adhd/
Bekkala, A. (2017, August 02). The Best Activities for Kids With ADHD. Retrieved from https://www.activekids.com/swimming/articles/the-best-activities-for-kids-with-adhd?clckmp=activekids_global_recommendedarticles_pos2