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Studies Encourage Outside Activity for Kids with ADHD

Recent studies have found that mom was right to send the kids outside to play. In turns out that outdoor activity helps young people who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
"In fact," says University of Illinois Professor Frances Kuo, "being in relatively natural outdoor places, like a neighbourhood [sic] park, or a grassy field, or a tree-lined park is especially good for symptoms. ... Its a great way to spend time together, teaching kids about the beauty of the natural environment ..." Source: Nanton News (Alberta, Canada)
Parents who are looking for creative ways to get their children outside may consider having a picnic in a local park, plant a tree together in the backyard, cultivating a family vegetable garden, taking regular after-dinner walks, or even picking up litter in a nearby park (which can also instill an appreciation for the value of community service).

Labels: Attention_Deficit_Hyperactivity_Disorder, exercise

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ADHD Kids Need to Move

A new study out of the University of Central Florida has found that kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder focus better when they're moving, which may explain the "hyperactivity" part of ADHD.
"In studies of 8- to 12-year old boys... children with and without ADHD sat relatively still while watching Star Wars... All of the children became more active when they were required to remember and manipulate computer-generated letters, numbers and shapes... Children with ADHD became significantly more active..."
The study indicates that a child with ADHD needs to move more in order to stay alert and perform tasks requiring working memory. The findings indicate that kids with ADHD may be more productive if allowed to fidget, as long as their behavior doesn't become destructive. Source: Psych Central

Labels: activities, exercise, memory

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Getting 'Psyched Up' Increases Amount, Quality of Exercise

A major study of more than 5,000 Canadians found that psychological factors determine how much and how often people exercise.

Dr. Sai Yi Pan and her colleagues at Public Health Agency of Canada asked 5,167 adults how confident they were that they could exercise 30 minutes three or four times a week. People who answered that they were confident were more likely to carry out exercise programs. Dr. Pan also found that those who said they intended to be active in the near future were also more likely to exercise regularly.

Dr. Pan suggested that public health programs should "enhance people's motivation and confidence," and not just provide education about the benefits of exercise.

Dr. Pan's study was published January 16, 2009, in Volume 9 of the journal BMC Public Health.

Labels: exercise

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Nature Walks Might Improve Cognitive and Memory Skills

Spending time in nature might improve your performance on memory and attention task tests, according to a new study from the University of Michigan.

Psychologists Marc Berman, John Jonides, and Stephen Kaplan asked volunteers to take cognitive tests and then walk in either a park or an urban area of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Then the subjects took the tests again. Those who walked in nature did better than those who walked in the city. The same held true for another group of volunteers who were retested after looking at photographs of nature or city neighborhoods.

The authors, writing in the journal Psychological Science, believe that city environments require more interpretation compared to natural environments, which are experienced as restful.

Researchers at the University of Illinois have found that children with attention deficit disorder can reduce their symptoms by spending time in nature.

Labels: exercise, memory, green_time

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Predicting Teen Levels of Activity

Children who are good at object control skills, such as catching, throwing, and kicking balls, are more likely to become active and participate in sports as teenagers.

Researchers in Australia tested 276 elementary school children for those three skills as well as their abilities in locomotion, including hopping, sprinting, and jumping. Five years later, children who showed good object control tended to participate more in sports and exercise programs.

This study appears in the journal Medicine and Sports.

Labels: sports, activities, exercise

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'Green Time' May Benefit Children with ADHD

Can a walk in the park lessen the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder? A recent small study at the University of Illinois indicates that the answer could be yes.

The U of I study reported that being outdoors can lessen hyperactivity and impulsivity in children more effectively than can a walk in a congested urban area.

Dr. Frances Kuo and Andrea Faber tested a group of seventeen children (ages 7 to 12) with Attention Deficit Disorder after they had taken two 20-minute walks. After the "green" walk in the park, the children did "shockingly better" on a neurocognitive test, and showed improvements in attention and impulse control, according to Dr. Kuo.

Dr. Kuo has done other studies demonstrating that "green time," especially time spent in wilderness areas, helps children with ADHD.

Some child psychiatrists warned that while the results of this study are interesting, the number of children is too small to be significant. The study would need to be duplicated within a larger trial to be significant.

Labels: treatment, exercise, rustic_environment

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Walk in the Park May Help Kids with ADHD

A study conducted by the University of Illinois found that a 20-minute walk in a park improved the focus of kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
"'From our previous research, we knew there might be a link between spending time in nature and reduced ADHD symptoms,' said researcher Faber Taylor. 'So to confirm that link we conducted a study in which we took children on walks in three different settings - one especially "green" and two less "green" - and kept everything about the walks as similar as possible.'"
The study found that, when all other elements of the walk were the same - time of day, amount of sleep, use of medication, even the person they were walking with - ADHD children's attention improved far more after walking in a park than after walking in either a downtown or a residential area. Source: PsychCentral

Learn how Stone Mountain School's rustic environment helps lessen ADD symptoms.

Labels: exercise, green_time, symtoms, walking

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Swimming Can Help Kids with Attention Disorders

Swimmer Michael Phelps has been at the center of considerable public attention since his record-setting performance during the Beijing Olympics. Part of this publicity has focused on Phelps' struggle with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and how swimming helped him. Now, Nikki Miller, a licensed psychotherapist, gives credence to those claims.
"Of the 12 symptom areas of ADD/ADHD, swimming aids in:... alertness. Have you ever splashed water on your face to wake up? Often, the hyperactivity of a child is an effort to keep the brain 'awake'... In water, there is no need. In fact, hydrostatic pressure and resistance in water slows the world down, and can be quite calming and soothing to someone who always has to be wound up to stay awake."
Swimming can also help with focus, mental activation, processing depth and detail, saliency determinations, self-monitoring, and more, Miller said. Source: The Signal (Santa Clarita, CA)

Labels: activities, exercise, swimming

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Brain Exercises for ADHD

Amnon Gimpel, M.D., has released a book titled Brain Exercises to Cure ADHD. Dr. Gimpel draws from over 30 years of academic and clinical experience in his book, which is meant to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, medication.
"Dr. Gimpel explains that the child, adolescent or young adult (even some adults) is actually suffering from brain delays in some portions of the cortex, which may be treated with cognitive therapy and 'Brain Exercise Therapy.'"
Dr. Gimpel's book is not written as a textbook, but rather as a guide for parents and sufferers of ADHD to learn and implement his brain exercise therapy. Source: Jewish Press

Physical exercise, like the kind kids with ADHD get at summer camp, can also be a good form of treatment. Talisman Camps offers programs for kids with ADHD, ADD, and learning differences.

Labels: brain_activity, treatment, exercise

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ADHD and Exercise

Dr. John Ratey, MD, has written several books including his newest, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, in which he explores the benefits of exercise for people with ADHD.
"There are many reasons for exercise in ADHD. Exercise almost immediately elevates dopamine and norepinephrine and keeps them up for a period of time so that it acts like a little bit of Ritalin or Adderall. It also helps to still the impulsivity and still the cravings for immediate gratification..."
Studies have also shown that exercise has a direct effect on learning by improving the brain's potential to process new information. Dopamine and serotonin also increase as a result of exercise, causing improvements in overall mood. Read more at ADD.About.com.

Labels: alternative_medicine, exercise

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Study Shows Working Memory Training can Help

Cogmed is the name of a computer program which trains and develops working memory. In a recent breakthrough study, an institute in Sweden used the program to redefine the way attention problems are understood and treated. Now, researchers at Harvard University have conducted a study of their own which supports the initial findings.
"'Our pilot study indicated that the training of working memory in a school setting may be a feasible, safe, and effective way to help children with ADHD that warrants further investigation,' [Dr. Enrico] Mezzacappa concluded in the study."
Mezzacappa goes on to say that the program helps stimulate cognitive skills and overall development, and makes treatment for ADHD possible within schools systems, to students who might otherwise receive no treatment at

Stone Mountain, a school for boys with ADHD, helps boys deal with their behaviors while earning credits for school. Visit StoneMountainSchool.com to learn more.

Labels: schools, exercise, memory

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Exercise may Help ADHD

Last week, researchers released a study stating that they had caused the human brain to grow new nerve cells, some that has been thought to be impossible. They did it by putting subjects on a three-month aerobic-workout regimen. Researchers also discovered indications that physical activity may stave off the beginnings of neurological conditions like Alzheimer's and ADHD.
"Armed with brain-scanning tools and a sophisticated understanding of biochemistry, Newsweek reports, researchers are realizing that the mental effects of exercise are far more profound and complex than they once thought."
Though researchers don't fully understand why exercise has the effects it does, they are learning that it affects more than mood or self-esteem. Read more online.

Labels: exercise, green_time, playtime

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Exercise Can Reduce ADHD Symptoms

We all know that exercise is good for our bodies. It keeps our hearts and lungs strong, improves circulation, and keeps us healthy. For people with ADD/ADHD, exercise can have an additional benefit: research has shown that it reduces symptoms associated with these disorders.

“According to Dr. [John] Ratey, ‘Exercise is the single most popular tool we have to optimize our brain function… exercise not only makes us smarter; it also makes us less stressed, depressed and anxious.’… When we exercise, the chemicals dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain are increased.” (Source: HealthCentral)

Those three chemicals are the ones most closely associated with ADD/ADHD symptoms, and medications like Adderall and Ritalin are designed to increase those levels. Though there is no definitive evidence, it is possible that regular exercise could reduce the need for ADD/ADHD medication.


 

Labels: symptoms, exercise

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