Addressing the Rising Rates in ADHD and Impulsivity in Children Through the Power of Exercise

Addressing the Rising Rates in ADHD and Impulsivity in Children Through the Power of Exercise
Photo Credit: Fit & Fun Playscapes

A shift in appropriate interventions is needed to improve the plight of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Currently,  approximately 10% of children attending public schools across the United States are diagnosed with this neuro-developmental condition characterized by  impulsivity and attentional challenges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify that around six in every 10 children with ADHD wrestle not only with the core symptoms of ADHD, but also with one additional mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder, such as anxiety, impulsivity, or even depression.

To combat such challenging experiences, educational institutions commonly utilize evidence-based practices (EBPs). These well-researched, multi-faceted interventions attempt to ensure that predictable, effective interventions are applied rigorously within classroom settings. Yet, for thousands of children, their struggles continue, as do the frustrations of their teachers. One significant yet notably absentee factor in these interventions is exercise––a proven EBP, still often sidelined in academic environments.

Fit & Fun Playscapes is passionate about the power that exercise holds within the educational setting. The belief is simple, yet profound: “Creating opportunities for exercise throughout the day is as simple as creating sensory pathways in hallways or transforming a playground with stencils so that children have visual prompts to encourage play and movements. Teachers can utilize sensory stickers as pathways in their classrooms to engage small space gross motor play – while learning!” –– Pamela Gunther, CEO & Founder of Fit & Fun Playscapes

Studies suggest that physical activity proves beneficial for all children, yet it is particularly advantageous for those with ADHD. For many, the ability to move helps manage impulsive behavior, leading to increased self-regulation. However, frequently in schools, movement is somewhat neglected.

Educational curriculums tightly packed with necessary learning activities often unintentionally sideline the importance of exercise. Children are frequently required to sit for prolonged periods. This can be an almost impossible demand to meet for a child with ADHD. The lack of movement often compounds the challenges faced by children struggling with developmental delays, decreasing their confidence in their fundamental motor skills, including object control and locomotor skills.

Considering the current prevalence of sedentary behavior among children nationwide, Fit & Fun Playscapes offers a robust variety of sensory pathways that can be easily integrated into both classroom and playground settings. Transforming playgrounds into dynamic, engaging environments for children promotes an active lifestyle while combating the national obesity and increasing behavior disorders.

Active school transitions, involving walking, skipping, running, or leaping, can be encouraged safely with clear sensory pathways, along with the establishment of inclusive sports teams. Furthermore, teachers can integrate movement into academic lessons to engage students on a multisensory level and ensure learning is active, engaging, and impactful.

By implementing strategies that bolster physical activity, schools pave the way for overall well-being and academic success among students, creating an inclusive, engaging, and beneficial learning environment. It presents an opportunity to shift the focus from purely academic attainment to the holistic development of children—a necessary change in our education system.

At its core, the goal is to create a community that embraces the idea that movement is essential for healthy development. Parents, teachers, and communities can join the initiative to advocate for incorporating more physical activities in educational settings by using sensory pathways within the school environment. To learn more and join the movement, head to and become a part of their growing community.

About Fit & Fun Playscapes 

Pamela Gunther is the Founder and CEO of Fit and Fun Playscapes, an international retailer of colorful, engaging games, activities, and entertainment experiences that have helped communities improve health and wellness for over 12 years. Fit and Fun Playscapes designs colorful products by collaborating with seasoned and passionate professionals in the fields of education, fitness, recreation, health and wellness as well as therapeutic and clinical professionals. The Fit and Fun team has a combined experience of hundreds of years and our products are in over 8,000 locations across the globe. Fit and Fun Playscapes was established in 2011, is 100% women-owned and is a WBENC certified women owned and women owned small business, and is an award-winning innovator of products that help communities thrive. 

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Published by: Aly Cinco

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