Brain News You Can Use (February, 2013)

By Gail Sanders Durgin, Ph.D., BCN-Fellow, QEEGT

Exercise Can Help School Performance of Children with ADHD

Does your child with attention deficit disorder perform better after exercise? Many parents and teachers would agree. Now that observation has been confirmed in a study lead by researcher, Matthew Ponifex at Michigan State University. The study demonstrates that children with ADHD can tune out distractions and focus better on a task after a single period of exercise. In this study, 40 children from 8 -10 years old either walked briskly on a treadmill for 20 minutes or read a book while seated. Half of the children had ADHD. After this task, the children took a brief math and reading test similar to longer standardized tests. Next, they played a video game where they had to quickly ignore extra visual stimuli in order to determine which direction the fish was swimming away.

All of the children performed better on both the reading and the math tests after completing the exercise. During the computer game, the children with ADHD were better able to slow down their responses after they made an error and were better able to avoid repeating mistakes.

Ponifex said that this study justifies breaks for physical activity during the school day. Other researches have found that children with ADHD are less likely to be physically active or plan in organized sports. This study should encourage their participation in physical activity.

Michigan State University (2012, October 16). Exercise may lead to better school performance for kids with ADHD. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 12, 2013, from


Gail Sanders Durgin, Ph.D. has been providing neurofeedback and biofeedback at Neurofeedback Associates Inc since 2000. She previously worked in mental health and developmental disabilities services for 18 years. Dr. Durgin offers the most advanced treatment services in the field in order to offer individualized client centered solutions to improve brain and life performance.

Published in Natural Triad, February, 2013


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