Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is one of the most common childhood neurodevelopmental disorders. The term ADHD is often used interchangeably with attention deficit disorder (ADD). ADD is used to refer to inattentiveness while ADHD can mean hyperactivity.
ADHD is typically diagnosed in childhood and can last into adulthood. Kids with ADHD may have difficulty paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviours such as acting without considering the outcome or being overly active.
Recent statistics reveal that 1 in 20 Australians has ADHD. While it is more common among boys, it is believed to be under-diagnosed in girls and adults. Studies also suggest that 3 out of 4 children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD will continue to experience symptoms well into adulthood.
Can a child with ADHD improve with exercise?
Children with ADHD may have difficulties when it comes to exercise and physical activities that can keep them from participating. This could be caused by many things, such as physical challenges brought on by ADHD symptoms, low self-esteem, or a lack of interest brought on by the same issues regarding movement planning or motor skills typical in kids with ADHD. However, it is still important for children with ADD/ADHD to incorporate physical activity or exercise into their daily routine.
Children with ADD/ADHD can benefit greatly from engaging in physical activities like exercise because it provides a healthy way for them to channel their excess energy constructively. However, it may be worth noting that exercises that incorporate long periods of the same activity or conversely, extended periods of inactivity may fail to engage or maintain their attention.
If you are unsure where to begin or how to implement these activities, then seeing an Exercise Physiologist (EP) can be a great start. At Healthstin, we offer tailored exercise interventions for people living with physical and mental disabilities. Our programs can provide you with an idea of how to help your child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Why is physical exercise good for a child with ADHD?
Exercise can be pivotal in improving an individual’s physical strength. In addition, one of the crucial facts about exercise is that it conditions the brain to engage in a deeper level of focus. It is for these two reasons that athletes are committed and disciplined in performing exercise in their training programs.
This fact emphasises how instrumental and extremely beneficial exercise or any physical activity is for children with ADHD. ADHD diagnosis and treatment include significant difficulties with executive functions, resulting in poor organisational skills and forgetting details.
Regular exercise can help to minimise ADHD symptoms while also improving mood, memory concentration, motivation, memory, and mood. Physical activity raises norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin levels in the human brain, all of which influence attention and focus.
Now that you understand the benefits of physical activity for children with ADHD, you may want to incorporate exercise into your child’s routine. Although it may be challenging, the key is to keep it fun and engaging for them.
Regular exercise combined with traditional ADHD treatments, such as stimulant medications and counseling, can significantly improve a child’s ADHD symptoms. The Australian health guidelines strongly recommend that children aged 5 to 17 should engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day to improve their health.
Effective exercises for a child with ADHD?
Tip #1: Get your child moving
Any physical activity or exercise will do. You can engage your kids in play, allot some time to play tag, ride a bike, or do anything that will focus their energy on moving their bodies. It is important to note that a little exercise is better than having no exercise at all.
Tip #2: Develop consistency
You cannot master a skill overnight, the same way you cannot build your muscles with one long workout. Small doses of exercise per day can benefit your child in developing a regular and consistent routine.
Tip #3: Encourage your child to engage in sports
Sports is an exciting activity and can develop your child’s skills. One of the core ideas of sports is achieving or establishing a goal such as kicking a football in the field, shooting balls in a hoop, or hitting a ball with a racquet. It can increase your kid’s level of excitement and require a good amount of energy.
Tip #4: Create something
Mental exercises are also forms of exercise and can include allowing your child’s imagination to run wild. You can engage in creative endeavours such as storytelling, painting, and other forms of art. Or why not try an exercise circuit – this will allow your child to decide on what exercise is next.
Tip #5: Practice coordination and gross motor skills
Dancing or other aerobic activities can be a fun and engaging way for your child to exercise. It is also a practical way for kids to burn off extra energy and practice hand-eye coordination skills.
Tip #6: Get outdoors
One of the best ways to help a child with ADHD is to explore the outdoors. Head to a zoo or amusement park, or just let kids play in the playground. The outdoors offers various sights to see, and it can be fun for them to explore their interests.
Tip #7: Help them. Help you.
Using chores as a form of play for you and your child can help establish tasks and goals. It can be a fun and engaging activity and will help your child understand the essence of being organised.
Tip #8: Enroll in Group Exercises
Group programs and physical activity in a community setting can help your kids interact with other children, make friends, and develop their social skills.
These are just some ways to help a child with ADD/ADHD increase their physical activity levels. It is also worth considering the development equipment that you can use to help you with these activities, read on below to learn more.
Development equipment for children with ADHD
Developing these exercises and programs is important to be creative. Other equipment can also be used to start a mental and physical exercise program for your child.
Some memory games and word puzzles would suffice. It is also important to acquire sporting equipment such as:
- Hula Hoops
- Jumping Ropes
Parenting a child with ADHD
If you are a parent of a child with ADD/ADHD, it can be crucial that you support your child in overcoming daily obstacles and direct their energy in constructive directions. We know that deep down every child wants to listen to their parents and establish love and connection, but ADHD can be a significant obstacle.
If you need help in deciding on what physical activity or exercise program is appropriate for you and your child with ADHD to follow, our Exercise Physiologists at Healthstin will be more than glad to help. Our team of qualified and accredited Allied Health Professionals is out on a mission to help people suffering from injury or disability, including kids with ADHD, and people who want to improve their mental health.
Call 1300 090 931 or click this link to book an appointment today.