Friday 6 October 2017

Managing childhood ADHD with exercise: a systematic review

"Physical activity, in particular moderate-to-intense aerobic exercise, is a beneficial and well-tolerated intervention for children and adolescents with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]."

Another day, another systematic review and with it, another step closer to determining what intervention(s) might be effective in ameliorating (or at least managing) some of the more 'life-changing' aspects to ADHD.

This time around it was the findings reported by Qin Xiang Ng and colleagues [1] whose analyses seemingly support the use of both short-term and long-term exercise regimes when it comes to managing ADHD. I hasten to add, this is not the first time that this topic has been discussed on this blog (see here) and perhaps links into other non-pharmacological interventions being promulgated with ADHD in mind (see here).

Thirty studies were included in their review and various dimensions of ADHD were found to be [mostly] positively affected by the use of exercise regimes.

Another important detail of the Ng review was the observation that: "No adverse effects arising from physical exercise were reported in any of the studies, suggesting that exercise is a well-tolerated intervention." I guess that might depend on the type of exercise undertaken, but given the startling array of exercise options open to all - including those diagnosed with ADHD - I don't doubt that there is something for everyone. Indeed, if one is to extrapolate from other research, there may be no 'non-responders' to this type of intervention [2] and one might even expect there to be other potential positive effects from regular exercising (see here)...

The take-home message: get (and keep) moving whether diagnosed with ADHD or not.


[1] Ng QX. et al. Managing childhood and adolescent attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with exercise: A systematic review. Complement Ther Med. 2017 Oct;34:123-128.

[2] de Siqueira Mendes Barbalho M. et al. There are no no-responders to low or high resistance training volumes among older women. Exp Gerontol. 2017 Sep 13. pii: S0531-5565(17)30487-4.


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