New imaging technology has proven that physical movement aka “getting off your butt and exercising” improves mental focus, memory, and cognitive flexibility.
Brain exercises that build (and even rebuild) attention span have shown promise compared to amphetamines aka “zombie creating drugs” in addressing symptoms common to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). All to often we are so quick to give our children a pill for a solution rather than addressing the issue. And YES, the issue usually comes down to personal discipline such as eating clean and exercising more.
In the medical journal Pediatrics, research has been published that found kids who took part in a regular physical activity program showed important enhancement of cognitive performance and brain function.
Translation: Kids who exercise daily are smarter and have more control of their brain.
So Make Your Kids Work!
The findings in this research show a causal effect of a physical program on executive control, and provide support for physical activity for improving childhood cognition and brain health. I personally find it disturbing that this is something that still needs support. Large amounts of physical activity is clearly a high-yield investment for not just kids but adults as well. My theory is that the brain goes “haywire” and little timmy starts jumping off the wall all ADHD like because he is screaming for movement and activity and physical stimulation. This is simply an immune response and the body is attempting to correct it.
So rather than pumping little timmy full of zombie-creating-ritalin-poison-pills, my recommendation is that you do not leave this physical stimulation up to a school system. In fact, most schools are underfunded for physical health. Instead, sign your kiddo’s up for an intense exercise program that includes bouts of high intensity training.
This could include: Crossfit for kids, Swimming classes, running classes, weight training, boxing, kickboxing, spin classes, etc.
GIVE IT TIME
Another study found that a 12-week exercise program (not just a few days) improved math and reading test scores in all kids, but especially in those with signs of ADHD. (Executive functioning is impaired in ADHD, and tied to performance in math and reading.)
I think it’s absolutely criminal to give kids drugs before dosing them with exercise.
Millions of kids have been introduced to amphetamines and other stimulants to address ADHD. The number of prescriptions increased from 34.8 to 48.4 million between 2007 and 2011 alone. The pharmaceutical market around the disorder has grown to several billion dollars in recent years while school exercise programs have diminished.
Over all, this pandemic of physical inactivity has become a serious threat to not just national health, but global responsibility because after all, our kids are our future and it sure scares the hell out of me to know that some little person who’s damaging their brain right now with ADHD medication may some day run our country.