Fidget Spinners or Exercise?
A meta-analysis of studies on effects of physical activity on ADHD published last year, for instance, shows a significant effect (g = 0.627) on both executive function and motor skills. A similar review done recently also shows that physical cardio exercise (an exercise that "raises the heart rate, stimulates perspiration, and makes one out of breath") benefits children with ADHD. In fact, in one study, an effect size of 0.90 has been observed. There is much less evidence supporting non-cardio exercise (meditation, yoga, tai-chi, as examples).
|My son loves to play soccer. He always looks forward to recess as an opportunity to play with his friends.|
Exercise, of course, is not only good for children with ADHD, but for all children. For this reason, we need to keep reminding ourselves that recess during which children can play is a very important part of basic education. We should not take away recess simply to give more room for reading and math. Taking away recess as a form of disciplinary action is likewise wrong. This is no different from taking away food from our children as a punishment. Children need physical activity.