Physical activity program leads to better behavior for children with ADHD

A Physical activity program improves behavior and cognitive functions in children with adhd: an exploratory study

From Journal of Attention Disorders

While children who suffer from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) struggle with hyperactive-impulses and have trouble maintaining attention, this study found that a structured physical activity program may help to improve their muscular capacities, motor skills, behavior assessments, and the ability to process information.

“A main finding of this study is that both parents and teachers observed better behavioral scores in the physical activity group,” wrote the authors. “This could mean that positive effects of physical activity may occur in different settings of the children’s life.”

The authors monitored ten children with ADHD who were participating in the physical activity program three times a week and eleven different children with ADHD as part of a control group. “Considering the beneficial effect of physical activity participation on some important ADHD-related variables, schools and parents of children with ADHD should look to maximize opportunities for structured group physical activity in their children’s life.”


Objective: The objective of this study is to explore the effects of a moderate- to high-intensity physical activity program on fitness, cognitive functions, and ADHD-related behavior in children with ADHD. Method: Fitness level, motor skills, behaviors, and cognitive functions are assessed by standardized tests before and after a 10-week training or control period. Results: Findings show that participation in a physical activity program improves muscular capacities, motor skills, behavior reports by parents and teachers, and level of information processing. Conclusion: A structured physical activity program may have clinical relevance in the functional adaptation of children with ADHD. This supports the need for further research in the area of physical activity with this population.

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Article details
Verret, C., Guay, M., Berthiaume, C., Gardiner, P., & Beliveau, L. (2010). A Physical Activity Program Improves Behavior and Cognitive Functions in Children With ADHD: An Exploratory Study Journal of Attention Disorders, 16 (1), 71-80 DOI: 10.1177/1087054710379735

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