Short bouts of exercise help self-control
One way to help children and young adults get better at controlling their impulses is to get them to exercise, even for only 30 minutes. That’s the conclusion of research at VU University in Amsterdam, which analyzed 24 previous studies related to physical activity and its impact on making people a bit more inhibited.
The research, which involved patients from ages six to 35, showed that a half-hour run or bike ride could have cognitive benefits, including better self control. It specifically studied the effects of short bouts of moderate exercise, which raise the heart rate to roughly 60 percent of maximum capacity. Results were inconsistent in tests of longer or routine bouts of exercise.
The results could be applied to patients of ADHD or autism, for example, who may have impaired inhibition. The researchers found that the exercise improves blood circulation to the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, which could provide benefits to patients in academic and social settings.