Exercise, Physical Fitness and ADHD

Does Physical Fitness Help Young Men Cope Better with ADHD?

phyical fitnessToday there are literally thousands of young men taking various medications for treatment of ADHD.  Outside of medication there is another treatment that has had a significant amount of research: physical activity.  Although physical activity is not a replacement for medications, in conjunction with medications,  it can help young men to better cope with the difficulties of ADHD.

Dr. John Ratey, M.D., an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School states,  “Think of it as medication.  For a very small handful of people with ADHD, it may actually be a replacement for stimulants, but, for most, it’s complementary- something they should absolutely do, along with taking meds, to help increase attention and improve mood.”   ( click http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/3142.html  for full article). Physical activity helps to raise the level of certain brain chemicals that effect mood, pleasure, pain, focus and attention normally found at lower levels in persons with ADHD.

While most of us understand the physical benefits of exercise, we rarely consider the mental benefits.  Physical activities that focus on problem solving, memorization, sequencing of behavior, teamwork and sustained attention all help to stimulate that portion of the brain most effected by ADHD.  Many of the benefits achieved through physical activities can carry over to post activities periods such as classroom or study periods.

adhdIn a recent study at Dartmouth, David Bucci, an associate professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, began his study of exercise and memory by looking at attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  He heard from colleagues at the University of Vermont that among kids with ADHD that were attending summer camp, those who participated in team sports tended to respond better to behavioral intervention than sedentary kids. He and a team of grad students decided to take a closer look.  Their research determined that “Regular physical exercise enhanced recognition memory and decreased stress.  Effects were only detected in participants who exercised on the final day of testing.  An acute, single bout of exercise did not affect memory.

How Do Military Schools Help Young Men with ADHD

adhdAs a general rule most military schools have an extensive physical fitness program for students.  This includes a standard exercise program for all students as well as all normal sports.  In addition to the normal sports found in most schools, military schools offer a wider variety of sports and activities than those found in public schools.  These may include such things as boxing, fencing, judo, drill team, rock climbing, equestrian sports and many others.  Military schools also offer several outdoor adventure activities not found in public school systems such as military obstacle courses, rappelling, high ropes and other activities normally associated with camps.   All of these activities not only provide students with ADHD an outlet for pent up energy but also focus on many of those mental benefits associated with this type activity.  Lastly, involvement in physical activities such team sports can help to improve the self-esteem and confidence of those coping with ADHD.  Keeping in mind that there is no cure for ADHD and that those suffering from it learn to cope and deal with it, physical activity begun at an early age can help them establish an exercise routine they can follow their entire life.

Learn More About How MMA Can Help Young Men with ADHD

Marine Military Academy has an established program of physical training and activities that can help young men to deal with the effects of ADHD.  Check out the MMA website and read the article on Help for Students with ADHD.

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