Getting Energetic is Greater than Simply an ADHD Difficulty
Let’s hear it for jumping jacks and somersaults! Sport and exercise are great ways to activate the brain – especially with ADHD!
We recommend that before children sit down to do homework, do pushups, shoot hoops, run around the yard – do something to get the body moving and the brain going. After they become active, they will get more involved with their schoolwork and their brains will be able to concentrate better – and they will be fitter too.
Exercise is important for another reason: ADHD is all about “appetite”. ADHD medications cause changes in appetite for stimulation. While it sometimes leads to weight loss, the downside is also true. Many children with ADHD struggle with weight gain and obesity.
When it comes to weight gain, we need to consider the larger problem of obesity in our society. My guess is that it’s not just about ADHD (which can certainly lead to impulsive eating!) – it’s about the world we live in, a world full of TV screens, computers, iPhones, and tablets. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, children between the ages of 8 and 18 spent 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen – and that was before the pandemic! No wonder they “don’t have time” for housework!
Getting active with ADHD
Every child – and every adult – needs physical activity. The best way to make sure your child is getting it is to have it yourself. If your family sees you modeling couch potato behaviors or making excuses (“I’m too busy”, “I’ll start tomorrow”), they will follow suit. But if they see you hop on your bike, go to the gym, or dance around the house, that’s the culture they’ll step into. Activity is there for everyone: ADHD, typical, child, parent – and its benefits are equally strong for everyone.
Exercise is especially important for children with ADHD. Be a positive role model by taking action yourself and inviting children to participate in activities, especially before difficult tasks like homework or study. With the obesity epidemic firmly entrenched in North America, we parents must do everything we can to keep our families healthy.
Because our children with ADHD are at higher risk in many areas, including obesity, remember to take action with ADHD. Just add a little full body exercise to a life that is otherwise full of Xbox. Start small and let yourself get active!