Demystifying Medicine Video

How does exercise help manage symptoms of ADHD in children?

For children with ADHD and their parents, it can be difficult to manage symptoms with medication or psychotherapy alone. Research suggests that exercise can help manage symptoms of ADHD as well as improve general mental and physical wellbeing in children.

In this video we outline the neuroscience of ADHD and how exercise can be used as adjunctive therapy to help alleviate symptoms in children. We will present recommended exercise guidelines and a sample exercise plan that can be used to experience the benefits.

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Author Details


  • Archer, T., & Kostrzewa, R. M. (2012). Physical exercise alleviates ADHD Symptoms: Regional deficits and development trajectory. Neurotoxicity Research, 21(2), 195–209.
  • Cho, H. S., Baek, D. J., & Baek, S. S. (2014). Effect of exercise on hyperactivity, impulsivity and dopamine D2 receptor expression in the substantia nigra and striatum of spontaneous hypertensive rats. Journal of Exercise Nutrition and Biochemistry, 18(4), 379–384.
  • Christiansen, L., Beck, M. M., Bilenberg, N., Wienecke, J., Astrup, A., & Lundbye-Jensen, J. (2019). Effects of Exercise on Cognitive Performance in Children and Adolescents with ADHD: Potential Mechanisms and Evidence-based Recommendations. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 8(6), 841.
  • Faber Taylor, A., & Kuo, F. E. (2009). Children with attention deficits concentrate better after walk in the park. Journal of Attention Disorders, 12(5), 402–409.
  • Mehren, A., Reichert, M., Coghill, D., Müller, H. H. O., Braun, N., & Philipsen, A. (2020). Physical exercise in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - Evidence and implications for the treatment of borderline personality disorder. In Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation (Vol. 7, Issue 1). BioMed Central Ltd.
  • Mollon, P. (2018). What is going on in the brain in adhd? The Disintegrating Self, 75-105. doi:10.4324/9780429481499-5
  • Ougrin, D., Chatterton, S., & Banarsee, R. (2010). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Review for primary care clinicians. London Journal of Primary Care, 3(1), 45–51.
  • Rassovsky, Y., & Alfassi, T. (2019). Attention improves during physical exercise in individuals with ADHD. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(JAN).
  • Sharma, A., & Couture, J. (2013). A review of the pathophysiology, etiology, and treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (adhd). Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 48(2), 209-225. doi:10.1177/1060028013510699
  • Verret, C., Guay, M. C., Berthiaume, C., Gardiner, P., & Béliveau, L. (2012). A physical activity program improves behavior and cognitive functions in children with ADHD: An exploratory study. Journal of Attention Disorders, 16(1), 71–80.

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