Sport and ADHD

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Malika, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    My son has ADHD. Because he generally loves using his body and of course has so much energy, he has always done a lot of sport. This year he has started football (what I think you call soccer), which is 2 hours of quite intense exercise on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. He also does tae kwando on Mondays, Weds, Fri. Anyway, I noticed today after his football and tae kwando that he was more co-operative and amenable than he usually is about certain things and also - which is almost unheard of - he sat and did his homework (copying some words in Arabic) unaided and uncomplaining. You should see the shouting match that usually ensues if I try to insist he does homework...

    I had never heard of any connection between ADHD and exercise but googled it to see. And there's quite a bit of evidence that it really does improve focus in people with ADHD! For example:

    I think this is very encouraging.
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I think very physical activity tends to be good for most children, not just those with ADHD. Hopefully you have hit upon something that will give J meaningful benefit!
  3. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Physical activity is extremely important for our adhd kids. It's one reason I had written in my son's IEP in elementary school that they were not allowed to take away recess for infractions. If he didn't have that 30 min to run around and release some energy, the afternoon was tough.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Physical activitiy is a known stress reliever and makes us feel good. I personally work out almost every day. I think the more adults AND their kids get hot and sweaty, the better it is for them in every aspect of life. I am glad to hear that J is active and that it is making a difference! Keep it up, J! :)
  5. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    As an adapted PE teacher, I see this to be true over and over again. The trick is to match the activity to the child. I know most of my students have social struggles, so team sports with any sort of competition would not work, so we do lots of skill development, dual and individual sports, lifetime fitness and wellness activities, lead-up games with high-fives instead of scores, etc. our PE time is a huge highlight in their school day, so I'm told, and they do really well getting some work done when they transition back to the classroom. With my students with ADHD, I have a hard time maintaining their focus and they can be pretty disruptive when they are "climbing out if their skin" when I'm trying to give any group instruction, waiting for a turn, etc., so I have an alternate activity to keep them busy (moving to a poly spot so they can do 10 jumps, taking a lap around the basketball court, etc.--whatever they seem to enjoy--but always close to the group so the they can re-integrate quickly for their turn) so they don't feel stressed out during wait times (which are very short in my classes).

    I'm glad your little man is finding joy in being active!
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    It's well proven, on multiple fronts.
    I know of a recovery school (school of last resort for troubled kids) where they have treadmills and exercise bikes in the classroom. Kids are welcome to move while the teacher is reading or giving instruction, or while they are reading, or they can burn off some calories and then return to their work. And... both attendance and marks have gone up as a result.
    We've had teachers that found a way to get the kids moving any time the class started getting a bit out of hand - the theory being that the kids had "had enough" and needed to get moving... and these were usually GOOD teachers.
    I know ADHD kids who have been taught to "march in place" while performing in choir.
    One of the members on this site has a son who learned to wiggle his toes to aid his focus in situations where moving around was not an option (he was in armed forces training).

    As long as the kid doesn't have gross motor skills issues... this works. And it works whether they are fairly neurotypical, ADHD, or on the autism spectrum somewhere. In other words... it's one of those "safe to try for MOST kids" type of approach.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It sure helped Wiz if we gave him outlets for his energy. He loved soccer too. Not sure why, but this brings back a very old memory. iz an husband were at a parent meeting of the local soccer league back when Wiz was six. It was his first or second year playing. The league president was blathering on and Wiz got onto the floor and was rolling around. The league president first got a bit miffed and then realized that NO ONE was paying any attention to him. they were not paying attention to Wiz, they were just bored. The president made the mistake of asking the audience to tell him what he had just said.

    Wiz repeated several minutes exactly word for word. From his place under a couple of folding chairs, as he played iwth people's shoelaces.

    husband was told that Wiz was welcome to play, but he didn't need to be at meetings. It was all husband could do to keep a straight face, esp after Wiz had repeated the man's tirade against 'buttinsky parents making calls and rules'.

    Soccer was also where we first realized what could be done if Wiz could focus. We gave him his first dose of a stimulant shortly before a soccer game. The other kids and parents liked Wiz, but he was NEVER paying attention to the game. That day? WOW! Even the referee and other parents were impressed wtih him. It was a truly awesome thing.

    I often end up at the party supply store looking at the little party favors. If I provided Wiz with things to fidget with, he concentrated and read easily. At one point I found a pencil with a plastic nut and bolt at the other end from the point. Another had a little ball you guided through a maze that was on the end of the pencil like a fancy eraser. His teachers all commented that when using those pencils, he took better notes, made better comments, and was easier to get along with. It was as though it siphoned off that leading edge of the energy. Party supply stores have all sorts of things to fidget with, and often they are vastly cheaper than Occupational Therapist (OT) supply houses. I often got enough of anything with a very low price so that each kid in class could have one. That way it wasn't a special thing to set Wiz apart, it was something they all had.

    I don't know if your schools do this, but for decades here the students would not be allowed to go play on recess if they didn't behave in class or didn't finish work. Teachers here had FITS when our legislature said that EVERY student would go to recess every day unless a doctor said they could not or the temps were in certain ranges. Temps too high or low meant recess in the gym, and everyone participated. This was largely in response to the growing obesity problems iwth kids.

    It had unintended side effects. The behavior problems decreased. The kids had an outlet to let the 'wiggles' or extra energy out. It made HUGE differences in the kids who had trouble learning or behaving appropriately. Teachers had been frustrated at not being able to 'punish' the kids though. One principal started 'Walk and Talk". I have mentioned it before here. the kids walk the perimeter of the playground field while waiting for the bus before and after school. they walk, they chat, and there are much fewer fights. When the new laws happened, kids who were in trouble got to do Walk and Talk at recess rather than sitting on the side the way they had before. Other kids could walk with them, or not, and they could not be made to run. Grades at the first quarter were interesting, and the overall tone of the elem school had changed in many ways. By the end of the year there was a very clear and significant decrease in the number of discipline problems AND a clear increase in the school test scores. Teachers at this elem school were thrilled when they realized that the change to Walk and Talk rather than sitting out of recess was the only real change that had happened. No other changed impacted all of the kids, and this trend was repeated in other schools as the staff adopted the policy.

    If you don't channel the energy, it finds ways to explode anyway. Sports provide the outlet and direction, they also teach a lot of valuable social lessons. This clearly works for J, so run with it! I am glad it is helping him and other kids.
  8. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Neither of mine is even officially ADHD but there is a reason why I bothered to drive difficult child to up to10 or 12 practises a week in three different sports (and husband did same to easy child) and added to that they walked to school and had to spend couple of hours a day outside. And of course in our schools classes last 45 minutes and between every class, there is 15 minute recess during which mine tended to play soccer etc.

    We have counted the hours they spent physically active when young few times now later because there has been lots of talk about how much physical activity a kid needs from early on to have a chance to become a high level athlete as an adult. When to grow healthy adult every kid should be physically active at least 14 hours a week, the future athlete needs more than 20 to 25 hours from early on. (This is not just sport practises, but walking or driving bike to school, running and playing in the yard etc. count.) With my kids most of the time it was well over 30 hours a week. And mostly because if not, they were totally insufferable at home.
  9. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member


    Some children have an intense need to wiggle, move about, etc. and it can really help with focus and concentration. The Monster Tot twins have a "go outside and sprint around break" several times a day during homeschooling. Some days it makes the difference between wild little hellions who dismantle the house brick by brick, and biddable, cooperative children. (Other days there's nothing that will stop them, but still, it's a good strategy).

    And this doesn't necessarily change in adulthood. There's a reason I work out 5 to 7 times per week and have "fidget toys" all over my desk.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My younger two boys have always been overactive and from very early on they had to have outside time. I have no clue what we would have done if we had to live in the inner city but luckily we have lived in places they had open range for most of their lives. For about a year and a half we lived in a small city but right inside the city and it was the worst period of their lives. They wanted to be outside and I had a dickens of a time keeping them in.

    My younger two played three sports a year from the time they were 7. That was the earliest age that teams started here. They also came straight home from school, dropped their backpacks at the door and headed out to play.

    One interesting thing is that when my middle son went into boot camp for the Marines he had to be still when told and active when told. He learned to wiggle his toes in his boots to keep something moving but no one could Also this same kid started running long distance track when he went off his ADHD medication entering HS. He ran 3 miles in the morning and 4 miles or more every afternoon. He could never have a sedentary job. His job in the Marines was as a military policeman and now he works for the sheriff's dept. He is always out either driving or walking.