effect of exercise on cognitive performance

The Effect of Exercise on Cognitive Performance in Children with ADHD

Dr Shelley Hyman

Research supports that a single session of exercise benefits cognitive performance of children with ADHD.

In a recent study, 32 adolescents with and without ADHD were asked to perform cognitive tasks over a period of 2 days, followed by either watching a 30 minute nature documentary on day 1 and a 30 minute moderate intensity aerobic exercise condition on day 2 (or vise versa).

Results revealed that exercise significantly benefited performance on all three conditions of the Stroop Task, but did not significantly affect performance on the Tower of London or the Trail Making Test.

From this study, it was concluded that children with and without ADHD reveal benefits in speed of processing and inhibitory control in response to a session of acute exercise, but do not experience benefits in planning or set shifting.

Alexandra Page


  • Piepmeier, A. T., Shih, C. H., Whedon, M., Williams, L., Davis, M., Henning, D., ... & Etnier, J. L. (2015). The effect of acute exercise on cognitive performance in children with and without ADHD. Journal of Sport and Health Science.
Dr Shelley Hyman

About Dr Shelley Hyman

Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist. BSc (psychol) Hons, MClinNeuropsych, PhD (Med) MAPS CCN. Founder and director of the centre that was founded in 2006.