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Physical Activity, Affect and Executive Functioning in Boys with ADHD

Physical Activity, Affect and Executive Functioning in Boys with ADHDThe Journal of Attention Disorders published research on two studies to investigate the role of physical activity on the affect and executive functioning of children with symptoms of ADHD. One study explored the association between physical activity and affect in the daily lives of children with varying degrees of hyperactivity.  The second study randomly assigned children with ADHD a physical activity or a sedentary task before working on a executive function task.

The results indicated the following:

  1.  Lack of physical activity was shown to relate to depressed affect, more strongly in participants with severe hyperactivity symptoms.
  2. The physically active participants showed improved executive functioning after only 5 min of vigorous activity; the sedentary control participants showed no improvement.

The researchers concluded that increasing the level of physical activity in children with and without ADHD might improve affect and executive functioning.

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Reference:  Caterina Gawrilow, Gertraud Stadler, Nadine Langguth, Alexander Naumann, and Antje Boeck.  Physical Activity, Affect, and Cognition in Children With Symptoms of ADHD.
Journal of Attention Disorders. February 2016 20: 151-162, first published on July 26, 2013 doi:10.1177/1087054713493318