(Reuters Health) — Twenty minutes of exercise may help kids with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) settle in to read or solve a math problem, new research suggests.
The small study, of 40 eight- to 10-year-olds, looked only at the short-term effects of a single bout of exercise. And researchers caution that they are not saying exercise is the answer to ADHD.
But it seems that exercise may at least do no harm to kids' ability to focus, they say. And further studies should look into whether it's a good option for managing some children's ADHD.
"This is only a first study," said lead researcher Matthew B. Pontifex, of Michigan State University in East Lansing.
"We need to learn how long the effects last, and how exercise might combine with or compare to traditional ADHD treatments" like stimulant medications, Pontifex explained.
He noted that there's been a lot of research into the relationship between habitual exercise and adults' thinking and memory, particularly older adults'. But little is known about kids, even though some parents, teachers and doctors have advocated exercise for helping children with ADHD.