The psychological benefits of playtime

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could perform better academically if they carry out more exercise. This is the suggestion of new research published in the Journal of Pediatrics, which found young people with the condition will focus more and ignore distractions after taking part in just one session of physical activity.

Matthew Pontifex, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at Michigan State University, noted the findings indicate exercise could be used as a non-pharmaceutical method of treatment for ADHD.

Mr Pontifex stated: "Maybe our first course of action that we would recommend to developmental psychologists would be to increase children's physical activity."

The findings are significant because many parents are worried about the side-effects and costs associated with medication usually taken by youngsters who suffer from the condition.

Mr Pontifex said the results support the argument that more physical activity should be incorporated into the school day, especially for children with ADHD.

Professor Stuart Biddle, a Chartered Psychologist from Loughborough University, comments:

"Physical activity is increasingly been seen as an important health related behaviour related to improved cognitive functioning. This might be for older adults in relation to cognitive decline or younger people with or without learning difficulties or other such difficulties, such as ADHD."