There have been a lot of researchers in the past that prove that physical activity has a positive effect on our brain. It is known to increase the attention span, with better brain functioning and elevated mood. Have you ever seen people who find it very difficult to concentrate on a particular thing for even the smallest amount of time? I am sure we all have, that is the same what happens to children who have ADHD, that is an Attention deficit hyperactive disorder.
Physical activity as an alternative treatment: Clinicians believe that physical activity acts as a medication for some children who have ADHD, that is obviously not just the treatment that is provided in isolation, but it is more as an intervention with the actual medication. For some only this intervention might work completely and for some, it is one of the stimulators with other clinical intervention depending on the case. But the gist is physical activity has a role to play in increasing your attention span.
How does this function? As said that being physically active increases the attention span, it is important to know how this mechanism takes place. Physical activity or exercise is known to turn the executive functioning which is also referred as the attention system it involves functions like- working memory, sequencing, inhibiting, prioritizing, and sustain attention. All these functions in collaboration channelizes the body to concentrate on one stimulus and act. This increases the impulsive instinct making you more inclined to learn and adapt. Also, physical activity makes you sleep better due to exhaustion the body goes through in that period. It means more deep sleep and less anxiety, stress or crankiness next day.
Secretion of hormones: The other way physical activity works for the betterment of concentration and attention is through secreting the hormones responsible for attention in the human body. Activity elevates the secretion of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain. These chemicals are known to boost attention and focus in humans, and they are found in short supply in people with issues like ADHD. So it explains how being active affects your attention level. The increased dopamine levels elevate the functionality of the attention system to be more consistent and regular.
Introduce physical activity at early levels: Looking at the benefits physical activity and exercise have on both children and adults it becomes our prime duty to introduce this at an early stage in our lives. These days schools has started paying more attention to including more sports-related activities in their curriculum to make children more healthy and competitive in positive ways in life. Be it gymnastics or a 20 minutes aerobic session in the morning or full-fledged sports games the intervention at any given level is going to give out positive effects on these children’s lives.
It is interesting to see how these problems which are more psychological in nature connect with the physical and social aspects of our life. It is not just ADHD but many other behavioral problems that can be tackled through these interventions if we become more aware and dynamic in our approach to look at a problem.