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Playing outside surrounded by “green” can help improve ADHD symptoms

A recent study of 400 children diagnosed with ADHD found that children “who regularly play in outdoor settings with lots of green (grass and trees, for example) have milder ADHD symptoms than those who play indoors or in built outdoor environments”.

It seems like a rather bizarre hypothesis to study: never mind all the medication and coaching and mindfulness – let’s see if grass works! But as we thought more about this connection, we realized it is the impact of nature that this grass represents. Poets have long written about the impact nature has on making our brains more peaceful and our outlooks more clear.

The study found that not just any old “green” was effective. In order to see a visible reduction in symptoms, the children needed a specific kind of green: “children who were high in hyperactivity tended to have milder symptoms if they regularly played in a green and open environment (such as a soccer field or expansive lawn) rather than in a green space with lots of trees or an indoor or built outdoor setting.” Apparently the typical backyard doesn’t cut it. You are going to have to start adventuring in nature with your family!

The ADHD brain is so active it requires the impact of the wild to feel more at peace – a good excuse for getting outside. Once again, science is reminding us how critical recess and PE class are to a child’s learning.

Is anyone’s cubicle feeling awfully cramped right about now?? Find a park near you and take in some green.

Note: This study appears in the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being.  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/234526.php

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