A study done by Michigan University indicates that exercise in the morning may reduce symptoms of ADHD in children and give them better concentrate during school.
Exercise boots the brain’s neurotransmitters and the amount of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). These are chemicals that people with ADHD often run short on. By increasing these chemicals and strengthening brain connections, children have a higher rate of learning and the ability to interact with others appropriately.
Mornings are a busy time for families. Fortunately, some schools provide exercise time for students before starting the day. If this is not the case in your child’s school, here are some physical activities that might fit right into your morning routine:
- If you walk your dog in the morning, have your child join you. This provides your child with physical activity and outdoor time.
- Have your child walk or ride their bike to school if you live close by.
- If it’s possible to adjust your child’s class schedule, ask the school to schedule your child’s PE class first thing in the morning. Children with ADHD may get accommodations via a 504 Plan.
- Sign your child up for an exercise program that starts in the morning (e.g. yoga, dance, martial arts). Having an appointment will help you stick to the routine.
- Make it fun! If the weather is bad, use something fun like a dancing video game, indoor trampoline, hula-hoop, or jump rope.
- Play a sport with your child. Something as simple as stepping outside and throwing a ball together works on focus, coordination, and cognitive function.
The above study had children exercise for a 30-minute block of time, but there have been studies that show even 10 minutes can provide a “brain boost”. If time is an issue, start off small and work your way up to the full 30 minutes. Our morning routines set the mood for the day. Make a mental list of the benefits and repeat them to yourself if you start to lose motivation.