As a general rule of thumb, what is good for the body is good for the mind, and exercise is no exception. When done correctly, it can strengthen your immune system, improves your cardiovascular system which can lead to an increase in oxygen circulating to the brain. While many people suffering from ADHD have sworn for years that physical exercise has helped them to alleviate their ADHD symptoms, it has by and large not been recognized by the medical community, until recently.
What Does the Research Tell Us?
In a study recently published in the journal Neuroscience, David Bucci, associate professor at Dartmouth’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, and his team of graduate students investigated the issue of how exercise effects neurological function on individuals with ADHD.
In it, he clearly states his apprehension towards the standard medicinal approaches, citing the fact that “We frankly don’t know the long-term effects of administering drugs at an early age” and went on to emphasize the importance of seeking alternative treatment options.
The Results: Exercise Helps ADHD
The findings of the study were clear in both lab rats and in humans; exercise was able to diminish the severity of ADHD symptoms. Interestingly, the positive effects exercise exhibited on cognitive performance were stronger for girls than for boys. In concluding, Bucci says that “the implication is that during development, as your brain is growing, exercising results in you having more permanent wiring of the brain in support of things like learning and memory. Therefore it’s important to exercise early in life.”
So the lesson is clear and confirms what many who have ADHD have known all along, that exercise helps reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Add in exercise to your other treatments, be they medicinal or neurocognitive therapies, to live a happier and more focused life.
M.E. Hopkins, R. Nitecki, D.J. Bucci, Physical exercise during adolescence versus adulthood: differential effects on object recognition memory and brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels, Neuroscience, Volume 194, 27 October 2011, Pages 84-94.