It’s common knowledge that keeping active and incorporating regular exercise into our lives helps keep our minds and bodies healthy, but did you know that exercise can also help individuals manage ADHD symptoms too?
Similar to ADHD medication, exercise can increase brain power, energy and reduce confusion.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, our accessible breaks are designed to ensure everyone can enjoy our activities no matter their ability. We offer a range of inclusive holidays for all ages, including breaks to support those with ADHD.
Our variety of exciting outdoor activities aim to support those with ADHD build up their self-confidence, communication and social skills.
What is ADHD?
ADHD, otherwise known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a mental health condition that affects 11% of young children; however, in 75% of cases, ADHD can go on to affect them throughout adulthood, meaning many adults live with ADHD.
Symptoms often consist of fidgety behaviour and an inability to stay focused due to a shorter attention span. Although ADHD is not a learning disorder, its symptoms can often cause difficulty in academic environments and general day-to-day activities.
The Benefits of Outdoor Spaces for ADHD
A growing body of research indicates that children and adults affected by ADHD have increased their ability to focus and reduced their stress and anxiety levels through spending time in green spaces.
Research suggests that time spent in natural environments is restorative to the body and brain. Some studies have shown that those who participated in outdoor activities displayed a decrease in ADHD symptoms.
The reduction in ADHD symptoms is partly due to two types of attention, directed/task driven attention and fascination. Over-exercising of directed and task-driven attention can result in attention fatigue, which can cause an increase in impulsivity and distractibility.
Nature offers a solution to this by balancing out directed attention and fascination, allowing the learner to recover from situational lack of focus.
Is Archery Good for ADHD?
Although there is no cure for ADHD, strategies can reduce the difficulties that may arise from the condition. There is also a great range of methods and approaches that can help with managing ADHD symptoms.
Exercise has proven to be one of the more positive and efficient ways to reduce inattention and hyperactivity. Relaxing forms of exercise can also be beneficial for people with ADHD as they can help relieve stress, support their sense of control, and manage impulsiveness.
Archery is a great sport that can help to benefit:
- Upper body strength
Activities such as archery are often suggested by therapists, doctors, psychologists and counsellors. Archery is not only a fun, accessible activity that can offer immersion, but it is also a skill that can be mastered and followed up on, as opposed to a one-off experience. When practised, archery can increase cognitive function by working the same parts of the brain required in academic environments.
One of the most important components of archery is that it offers an immediate reward. The archer has the opportunity to focus on their activity, which is immediately met with a reward and result. These short bursts of focus provide an accessible starting point for progression, which bodes well for shorter attention spans.
A lot of people who have ADHD also experience anxiety. Archery is a meditative sport that can help soothe anxious thoughts and episodes of depression, helping to improve overall mood. This is all thanks to the nature of archery, which centres around something the participant can control and immediately improve on.
Archery can also help an assortment of conditions, such as:
ADHD Archery Accessories and Equipment
In some cases, ADHD symptoms can make archery a slightly difficult activity to initially get into. However, a great range of equipment is available that can help avoid any initial hesitance so that the participant can quickly reap its many rewards!
In most cases, beginners are introduced to lightweight bows, making it much easier for them to handle. Starting them off with a weighted bow can help support their muscle growth and increase strength – this is useful for new archers of any age.
With regular use, the bow will be able to be held up without issue. As they advance, heavier bows can be used to help build additional strength. It’s worth noting that if an individual’s arm starts to ache, it should be temporarily swapped with a lighter bow.
A symptom of ADHD is difficulty with focusing, which can prove challenging when participating in archery. Archery scopes are a great feature that can help to support someone with ADHD practice their aim.
Scopes are also a great tool to incorporate into archery as they support focus while building on a more positive experience and a person’s understanding of the sport.
If there is difficulty in terms of aim and accuracy, larger targets are a great way to move forward. Large targets can offer a rewarding experience instead of a frustrated one, which can quickly lead to a lack of interest.
Larger targets are easier to hit; each arrow that hits the target will help to build on the participant’s confidence. It’s also worth noting that the design of the target can play an important factor in the archery experience. Too many colours can be distracting for people with ADHD.
Holding bows can become tiresome or challenging for those trying archery for the first time. Bow grips are often a good idea to increase support and ensure beginners get the most out of their archery session. The sling allows for a softer grip, allowing archers to relax rather than tense.
People with ADHD can often find loud or sudden noises distracting. String stops are often incorporated to help avoid loud noises impacting their archery session.
String stops work by preventing the bow from producing a loud noise when the arrow is released and are one of the most effective ways to reduce noise.
What Activities are Good For ADHD?
Sadly, not all sports and activities can work well for people with ADHD. However, there are some (like archery!) that are great for promoting things like health, self-esteem, teamwork skills and reducing ADHD symptoms.
Even a 20-minute walk in the park can help to reduce ADHD symptoms. However, not all individuals are the same, and an activity that might work wonders for one person may not have the same impact on another.
As mentioned above, archery is an excellent medium for any age for practising focus and building on patience and progression, which can quickly result in an increase in confidence and concentration.
Biking and cycling is active and adaptable, and is a great activity to experience with family and friends.
Again, bike rides have been known to support the improvement of focus, fitness, attention and confidence.
Paddling sports such as kayaking and canoeing are easy to learn and great ways to get out into the sunshine.
Not only is paddling excellent for building up strength and fitness, but it can also provide a calming feeling as you glide through the water.
Gardening can be incredibly mediative, making it a wonderful activity for people with ADHD. The activity offers a sense of progressive measure that can easily be observed.
Gardening also offers a sense of purpose, can be easy to access, and can help to burn off excessive energy.
Rock climbing is becoming increasingly popular and has started to present itself as a great way for people who have ADHD to exert their excessive behaviour. Climbing requires a lot of focus and can be just as mentally challenging as it is physically.
Coaches and Instructors
A coach or instructor plays a crucial role in supporting the adventurers to understand, participate and enjoy the activity. In some cases, the coach might not have a good understanding of ADHD, which can negatively impact the experience.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, all our staff are devoted to making a positive difference in people’s lives. We work hard to ensure that all our guest’s needs are met and more! Due to our experience with a variety of conditions and abilities, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide an experience tailored to you.
The Calvert Experience includes a whole range of exciting activities for an assortment of occasions; each break is specifically tailored to meet your needs.
For more information about our accommodation and outdoor activities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!