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Here at SOAR we know that ADHD presents unique challenges like affecting focus, impulsivity, and social behavior. While medication and therapy are standard treatments, Recent “research suggests that exercise offers several benefits for children with ADHD, including: less aggressive behaviors, improvements in anxiety and depression, and fewer thought and social problems”. We agree wholeheartedly about the benefits of physical activity for those with ADHD, and this concept is one of the founding principles of SOAR.

Exercise serves as an important tool for regulating attention and improving focus. Individuals with ADHD often struggle with staying on task on task, leading to frustration and decreased productivity. However, physical activity stimulates the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, all of which play important roles in attention regulation and mood stabilization. This is important since, “in those with ADHD, dopamine levels in the brain tend to be slightly lower than those of the general population”. Studies have shown that even short bouts of exercise can significantly enhance cognitive function, including attention control and working memory, which allows individuals with ADHD to better manage their focus and concentration throughout the day.

Along with increased focus, exercise offers a natural outlet for excess energy and restlessness which are symptoms commonly experienced by those with ADHD. Physical activity provides an opportunity to channel pent-up energy in a constructive manner, reducing impulsivity and hyperactivity. Whether it’s a chill walk, an hour at the gym, or participating in sports, engaging in exercise helps individuals with ADHD use pent up energy, leading to a greater sense of calmness. Not only that, but “the effects of a dopamine boost can last for over an hour after exercising. Giving enough time to start a task that requires concentration.” By incorporating exercise into their daily routine, individuals with ADHD can therefore experience a reduction in impulsivity and an increased ability to stay on task.

Exercise has also been shown to be “a major contribution to significant improvement in anxiety and depression, aggressive behaviors, and thought and social problems among children suffering from ADHD”. The release of endorphins during physical activity acts as a natural mood elevator, promoting feelings of well-being and reducing stress. For individuals with ADHD who may struggle with mood fluctuations and emotional dysregulation, regular exercise can serve as a powerful remedy, improving emotional resilience and enhancing overall mental health. By integrating exercise into their lifestyle, individuals with ADHD can grow a greater sense of emotional stability and find relief from the depression and anxiety often associated with the condition.

Physical activity is a powerful tool for managing ADHD symptoms and improving overall quality of life. By embracing exercise in any and all its forms, individuals with ADHD can enhance their focus, mood, energy levels, and impulse control while enjoying the emotional highs of an active lifestyle. Whether it’s a leisurely walk,  a team sport, or a rigorous workout, the path to managing ADHD effectively may begin with just lacing up your sneakers and embracing the benefits of physical activity. Here at SOAR, we incorporate fun, physical activities every day in all our programs to help campers effectively manage their ADHD symptoms.