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Exercise Improves Behavioral, Neurocognitive, and Scholastic Performance in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Published:October 19, 2012DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.08.036

      Objective

      To examine the effect of a single bout of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise on preadolescent children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) using objective measures of attention, brain neurophysiology, and academic performance.

      Study design

      Using a within-participants design, task performance and event-related brain potentials were assessed while participants performed an attentional-control task following a bout of exercise or seated reading during 2 separate, counterbalanced sessions.

      Results

      Following a single 20-minute bout of exercise, both children with ADHD and healthy match control children exhibited greater response accuracy and stimulus-related processing, with the children with ADHD also exhibiting selective enhancements in regulatory processes, compared with after a similar duration of seated reading. In addition, greater performance in the areas of reading and arithmetic were observed following exercise in both groups.

      Conclusion

      These findings indicate that single bouts of moderately intense aerobic exercise may have positive implications for aspects of neurocognitive function and inhibitory control in children with ADHD.
      ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), ERN (Error-related negativity), ERP (Event-related brain potential), RT (Reaction time), WRAT3 (Wide Range Achievement Test, 3rd edition)
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