Once again, research has found that exercise is a great “natural remedy” for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). University of Illinois professor, Charles Hillman, as well as his colleagues, found that physical activity had a positive influence on “cognitive control” which includes maintaining focus, resisting distraction, and cognitive flexibility of switching between tasks.
Isn’t This Old News?
One might ask how this research is new news. Haven’t we drawn the same conclusions about this in the past? You might say. That is correct. These findings are not new, however, this conclusive research is still very important to hi-light and reiterate during our present day and age.
The reason being, exercise programs for kids in schools continue to be under prioritized and underfunded.
Another critical reason that physical exercise should be a necessary part of school critieria is that it maximizes the proctivity of time spent in the classroom. When children are able to get out and run and play, they are less stir-crazy in class and also less distracting to others.
The images above show one group of kids who participated in physical activity and another group who didn’t. The study was performed for 9 months on children who were 7 years old. The results are so dramatic that it’s almost disturbing. It’s almost unthinkable to realize how many children may not be getting enough physical activity and therefore they are sitting in class with a “blue head.”
Another study was conducted for 12 weeks and results show that those children who participated in physical activity dramatically increased their test scores in math and reading, especially those kids who had ADHD.
Not only will the implementation of exercise programs help intervene with the ADHD epidemic, it will also have vastly more positive effects come with it. In a 5 year span from 2007 to 2011, the number of ADHD prescriptions has risen by almost 15 billion.
According to Hillman and his colleagues in the Pediatrics journal article, “The pandemic of physical inactivity is a serious threat to global health.” While the pharmaceutical market has grown in billions of dollars around ADHD, those same spoils have not been put toward the necessity of requiring physical activity within school curriculums around the globe. It is time that we begin implementing exercise opportunities for children for their mental and physical health.
Not to mention the epidemic of childhood obesity. More often than not, obese children come from lower income households, and with less exercise, there is a rapid growth in the obesity epidemic. Since exercise helps cognitive function and performance, as well as improves mood, it is imperative to helping our overall brain function. Obesity perpetuates the wealth gap as well as overall mobility. These are things that can have long-lasting effects on the economy and productivity of a nation.