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ADHD and Cycling
Riding Is My Ritalin
Adam Leibovitz is conducting a groundbreaking experiment that could transform the way doctors treat ADHD: He's pedaling his bicycle.
ByBruce Barcott
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One evening in the late autumn of 1997, Jeff and Lori Leibovitz arrived at Skiles Test Elementary School in Indianapolis for a meeting with their son Adam's first-grade teacher. The Leibovitzes were upbeat. First-grade conferences are typically full of wonderful reports about children's wonderful progress in learning to read and write. But the Leibovitzes walked into Adam's classroom that night to find the assistant principal sitting with Adam's teacher. The assistant principal did most of the talking. She told them their son showed classic signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD: He had trouble sitting still in class; his focus pinballed around the room; his hands were a whirl of perpetual motion. Adam's teacher had taken to giving him rubber bands to occupy his busy fingers.

 

Jeff and Lori listened in shock. Adam was a rambunctious kid, but his behavior didn't strike them as unusual. Adam's ADHD wasn't extreme or debilitating, the assistant principal told the Leibovitzes. But that wasn't necessarily a good thing. The boy's condition was acute enough to cause learning problems but mild enough that he'd likely slip through the system's safety net for special-needs students.

 

"It was a horror story," Lori recalls. "Here was our oldest child, just starting school, and we're told that he's always going to struggle with this. They said he'd fall through the cracks and would never amount to anything. It was earthshaking."

 

At the time, ADHD diagnoses were exploding across the United States. From 1990 to 1998 the number of children and adults identified as having the disorder shot up from 900,000 to nearly five million. Jeff and Lori came home that night and plunged into the research. Lori read everything she could find and attended local support-group meetings. Most of the advice pointed in one direction: a prescription for amphetamines such as Ritalin. The powerful stimulants (the Food and Drug Administration labels them as Schedule II drugs, the same category as morphine and methamphetamine) have a paradoxical calming effect on the minds of ADHD patients. They're convenient, effective and popular—90 percent of ADHD patients who take them see improvement. Pop a pill; problem solved. Many parents swore by them. Teachers praised them for bringing calm to unruly classrooms.

 



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Comments

I totally agree with this idea. Cycling really keeps you focused and I think it's a great exercise for people suffering from adhd. They can't do it if they don't keep focused so it's a great way to train their brain. Tgere is nothing boring about cycling. ruptura menisc
Here's a trick also taught by Cesear Milan. Before training a dog (OR) kid, you need to burn off that excess energy otherwise they can't focus. The same holds true for adults who need to unwind or focus. celana
It is quite understandable how physical exercise can be used to contain ADHD symptoms and burn off excess energy. Also cycling can be used to reduce stress and/or anxieties. I have used cycling as an escape from immediate personal problems for many years. It's a clean and healthy way to momentarily get your mind off of irritating issues that you cannot stop thinking about. Take a mental vacation by going for a 2-3 hour ride.
nice post thank you very much :)
"At the bottom are soccer, hockey and baseball. The best sports demanded constant physical exertion and a suite of technical movements that engaged brain functions dealing with balance, timing, error correction, decision-making and focus." Soccer and hockey fit the description perfectly. So does baseball, but there's a little more free time. So I think it has something to do with the mentality of delivering constant power output.
Adam's teacher had taken to giving him rubber bands to occupy his busy fingers.
the most famous Test Elementary School exist in Indianapolis for a superb meeting with their son Adam's first-grade teacher.
This article, as well as Why Johnny Can't Ride, should be required reading for all city planners. Over the last half century, we've systematically built a country where kids can't walk or ride to school, and we are seeing the results in both physical and mental health. (www.bicycling.com/news/advocacy/why-johnny-cant-ride)
Kudos for such a great article - so much info on ADHD is polarized - and the negative side often descends into "Bregganism", (ie. Peter Breggin) Hey maybe I couldn't get past grade 10, but I can spot a quack with weak and one-sided arguments! The quote below from the article is very interesting: The best sports demanded constant physical exertion and a suite of technical movements that engaged brain functions dealing with balance, timing, error correction, decision-making and focus. I think this could translate into downhill skiing. Not so much the constant exertion, but in a big way for most of the other stuff. I was a pretty good skier, I used to race but was kind of an average racer, a bit to much like a pansy instructor to do really well. I am inattentive ADHD (formerly known as ADD) Perhpas this is why I was a bit cautious for a racer. (for example when free-skiing I would do big air, but never 36's and inverted arials) But the best racer on the team back in those days was over-the-top hyper, and by around 10 years old had taught himself front flips and 360's, which he did with the long racing skis of the time This was early/mid 1980's so nobody was diagnosed. In fact when I started to really struggle in School around grade 8 my punishment was being grounded from Skiing. Lol that was really effective I think it made things worse not so much because of missed exercise, but because my social life on the ski-hill was far superior to what I had a School. What am I writing a book or something?
I think a really interesting story especially since I also had the same problem of attention and could not concentrate in school.
My oldest was diagnosed in 98, put on Ridilen then Aderall. After 5 years of this she asked us to drop the drugs for the same reasons that Adam wanted to drop. The drugs. At the same time and for unrelated reasons we got into charity bike riding and started to log long hours weekly. Symptoms have yet to return for my daughter and she gets antsy when she does not get a ride or run in. One data point, but I can see how this could be a real answer to doping our kids.
I would love to see how some kids diagnosed with "ADHD" would be cured if they played outside more and didn't have video games.
At the time, ADHD diagnoses were exploding across the United States. From 1990 to 1998 the number of children and adults identified as having the disorder shot up from 900,000 to nearly five million. Jeff and Lori came home that night and plunged into the research. Lori read everything she could find and attended local support-group meetings. Most of the advice pointed in one direction: a prescription for amphetamines such as Ritalin.
Good for Adam! I would love to see how some kids diagnosed with "ADHD" would be cured if they played outside more and didn't have video games.
How ironic that a story about paying attention is obnoxiously broken up into nine pages, apparently for no other reason than "the clicks."
Clicking the printer icon to the right of the headline takes you to a one-page version.
Sounds pretty real
Here's a trick also taught by Cesear Milan. Before training a dog (OR) kid, you need to burn off that excess energy otherwise they can't focus. The same holds true for adults who need to unwind or focus.
But by then it's time to go to sleep and then it's a new day all over again.