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INCREASES in Physical Activity Linked to DECREASES in ADHD

INCREASES in Physical Activity Linked to DECREASES in ADHD

Doctors Promote Exercise As Medicine

SILVER SPRING, MD – June 24, 2014 – ‘Physical Activity’ may be the best ‘prescription’ that can be given to a child suffering from ADHD.  According to a Huffington Post story written earlier this year by San Francisco-based population health consultant Brad Stulberg, increases in cases of ADHD are in sync with decreases in rates of physical activity.  Huffington Post

The Huffington Post story states that “studies demonstrate that when youth are engaged in regular physical activity they show less anxiety, increased focus, and better performance in academic settings.”  Children with ADHD take medicine with those behavior goals in mind.  As the story indicates, “physical activity may work just as well if not better than strong drugs in countering the symptoms of ADHD.

The story also states that “before turning to expensive drugs rife with side-effects to treat ADHD, parents, physicians, teachers, and education policy makers should consider the role of physical activity, and promote making it a regular part of children's diets.”

“There is an increasingly compelling amount of information supporting exercise as a treatment for ADHD and also as an aid to enhance learning,” says Jordan D. Metzl, MD,
Sports Medicine Physician, Hospital for Special Surgery, Author, The Exercise Cure.  “Rather than push drugs on our kids as a first-line treatment, we should be encouraging them to move before, during, and after school. I see physical education programs as one possible way to make that happen.”

“Exercise does for the brain what medicine does,” says Dr. Michael Mantell, senior fitness consultant for behavioral sciences, American Council on Exercise.  “Activity, movement and enjoyable physical play provide increased dopamine, endorphin, serotonin, norepinephrine and promote other neurobiological changes that positively impact the focusing functions of the brain. Pills? Sure some children may still need them as a supplement to natural methods first, rather than take a pill for increased dopamine and endorphins.”

There is an example of children using exercise to eliminate the need for ADHD medicine.  It’s the Morning Mile (!  This before-school walking and running program has inspired tens of thousands of children (and their family members) to arrive at school early each day….and then walk or run between 20 and 45 minutes, before the school bell rings.

“The Morning Mile is fun, exciting, easy to implement, and is keeping people fit in mass proportions,” said Morning Mile Founder Fitz Koehler ( of Gainesville, Florida.  “We have documented cases of Morning Milers being taken off ADHD medicine, losing significant amounts of weight, and being more attentive in the classroom.  Every child that steps out to give the Morning Mile a try is doing something positive for their health, mind, education, ability to behave, self-esteem and ability to prevent and fight disease.  The proof is in the pudding.”
“And another benefit of increasing rates of physical activity is that it helps impact obesity,” says Jim Baugh, founder of PHIT America, the non-profit group which is focused on reversing the ‘inactivity pandemic.’

Too many children are spending their discretionary time each day with screen-based entertainment.  This creates a situation of unnatural hyperactivity.  The best way for children to expend that bottled-up energy is to be active, to exercise, and/or play sports.

"There is nothing you can do for your health that is more powerful than maintaining an active lifestyle,” says Dr. Tim Church, professor, Pennington Biomedical, Louisiana State University.  “And for children, the foundation of an activity filled lifestyle starts with daily physical education in our schools."

The need for children to be active on a daily basis helps underscore the importance of daily physical activity (recess, P.E., and after-school sports programs) in all U.S. schools.

“We need physical education in our schools,” proclaims Dr. Steven Blair, a professor of the departments of exercise science and epidemiology/biostatistics at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.  “But the model for P.E. needs to change so that we are teaching cognitive and behavioral strategies to help people become and stay more physically active.”

Dr. Metzl, Dr. Mantell, Dr. Church and Dr. Blair are members of Doctors for a PHIT America, a group of nationally recognized doctors who want to help Americans understand the magnitude of the power of daily physical activity.

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Inactivity Kills More Than Obesity - BBC New


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