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ADHD And Swimming

ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. A chronic condition including attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. ADHD begins in childhood and continues into adulthood.

Studies show a strong benefit is associated with the participation in sports for children with ADHD.

New Research is raising the question, is ADHD more common in athletes? It is even suggested that ADHD might be an advantage. According to Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), “Sports and athletic activities are known to help increase neurotransmitters in the brain. That increase can help reduce ADHD symptoms for a short time for the person. Regular exercise and activity can increase the amount of time a person experiences an improvement in symptoms, including an increased ability to pay attention, to stay on task, and reduced impulsiveness. It can also improve sleep quality, which can help reduce symptoms during the day.” Doug Hyun Han, MD, PhD, of Chung Ang University Hospital in South Korea and his colleagues report that, “ADHD may be more common in elite athletes than in the general population, since children with ADHD may be drawn to sport due to the positive reinforcing and attentional activating effects of physical activity. Common symptoms of ADHD may enhance athletic performance. Some athletes with ADHD naturally excel in baseball and basketball, which involve quick movements and reactive decision-making, due to these athletes’ inherent impulsivity. Many children with ADHD were reported to ‘hyperfocus’ [highly focus] on their own enjoyable activities without being distracted by regular life activities.”

Because swimming allows participants to think creatively as they exercise In fact studies show that children with ADHD who swim may have improved behavior, cognitive functions, and academic performance. Physical exercise causes many changes throughout the body and the brain. When we exercise, our brain increases production of certain hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin. When coaching swimmers with ADHD it is important to have strategies in place to improve communication during in water practice and dryland. Remember That most kids get bored at practice. But for Those who have ADHD Practice becomes more of a struggle. And while swimming can help improve focus and concentration. ADHD swimmers get bored easier and faster. Engagement is important. Find ways to capture their attention, work on the areas to improve performance while keeping it fun. And that’s a win for all swimmers not just those with ADHD.

Few Additional Facts

  • Mix it up! Try doing flip-turn drills at the beginning of practice. This can help provide your swimmers with ADHD the attention they need to get through practice.

  • Practice goals are a great way to create focus and get stay motivated

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