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Exercise alleviates ADHD symptoms, according to College study

Kathryn Kao

August 21, 2019

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Exercise—even in small amounts—can help alleviate symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults, according to College of Education professor Patrick O’Connor.

His study, which was published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, was recently featured on Speciality Medical Dialogues, a website focused on the latest research, clinical trials, practice guidelines and journal updates for doctors.

“Exercise is already known as a stress reducer and mood booster, so it really has the potential to help those suffering with ADHD symptoms,” said O’Connor, who teaches in the College’s department of kinesiology. “And while prescription drugs can be used to treat these symptoms, there’s an increased risk of abuse or dependence and negative side effects. Those risks don’t exist with exercise.”

About 6 percent of adults in America report symptoms of ADHD, which can lead to anxiety, depression, low energy and motivation, poor performance at work or school and increased traffic accidents.

Researchers found that after exercising, participants felt more energetic and motivated to perform tasks, and that young men with symptoms of ADHD could benefit psychologically from short workouts—similar to the benefits enjoyed by typical adults who work out.

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