Source: ABC News

In September 2014 “Good Morning America” had a specialsegment sharing the results of a study on how exercise impacted kids withADHD.  They reported that in the US, 6 millionkids are diagnosed with ADHD, with half of them on medication.  In the reported study, the researchersintroduced exercise for 100 students diagnosed with ADHD but not onmedication.  They found that students whoexercised had improvement in mood and behavior. 

Another recent study out of the University of IllinoisUrbana-Champain found:

Followinga single 20-minute bout of exercise, both children with ADHD and healthymatch-control children exhibited greater response accuracy and stimulus-relatedprocessing – with children with ADHD also exhibiting selective enhancements inregulatory processes – compared with after a similar duration of seatedreading. In addition, greater performance in the areas of reading andarithmetic were observed following exercise in both groups.

The researchers’ conclusion:

Thesefindings indicate that single bouts of moderately-intense aerobic exercise mayhave positive implications for aspects of neurocognitive function andinhibitory control in children with ADHD.

The Wall Street Journal recently had an articlethat stated:

A recent study found regular, half-hour sessions of aerobicactivity before school helped young children with symptoms of attention deficithyperactivity disorder become more attentive and less moody. Other researchfound a single bout of exercise improved students’ attention and academicskills…Schools that adopted the exercise program [David Katz’ program,ABC for Fitness] for most of the academic year had a 33% decline in ADHDmedications used by its students. That compared with a smaller, 7% decline inmedication use in the schools not using the program.

In myown study of students with ADHD and behavioral issues, where office referralsdecreased by 36%, the one variable that stood out was that we used Exergamingas the tool for exercise.  The reasonthat variable was so important is that the students were consistently motivatedto exercise so that they could reap the benefits that exercise offers on adaily basis.  Anecdotally, the teachers’ reportscorrelated with what the studies stated above and others have found.  The evidence is so powerful that I believethat every Special Ed director and teacher should strongly consider interveningwith exercise as a positive and constructive way to support all students butespecially those with ADHD and behavioral issues. 

As AllisonCameron, teacher of special education in Saskatoon who began using exercise asan intervention years ago and who has been instrumental in bringing it toclassrooms across America said, “Everybody comes back and says there arepositive effects behaviorally, emotionally, academically, and asks, ‘Why isn’teveryone doing it? ”