- Paperback: 142 pages
- Publisher: Upper Access, Inc.; 1 edition (January 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0942679261
- ISBN-13: 978-0942679267
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #460,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Nature's Ritalin for the Marathon Mind: Nurturing Your ADHD Child with Exercise Paperback – January 1, 2010
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"Steve Putnam shares an important concept that needs to be considered as a useful and rational alternative to drugs." -- Jaak Panksepp, PhD, Dept of Psychology, Bowling Green State Univ.
"Steve Putnam's book is fascinating. It is a 'must-read' for anybody interested in ADHD." -- Thom Hartman, author of several major books on ADHD
I find this volume exciting. It could have a major impact on our lives and the lives of our children. -- Dr. Mark Shipman, dir., Inst. for Developmental Research
Putnam shares a . . . useful and eminently rational alternative to popular drugs whose long-term effects remain to be evaluated. -- Dr. Jaak Panksepp, Dept of Psych, Bowling Green Univ.
About the Author
Stephen C. Putnam introduced--and advocates for--the now-popular concept that excercise can effectively supplement, and sometimes eliminate need for medication for ADHD children. He holds an M.ed degree in guidance and psychological services. As an adult ADHD, he adds personal experience to his extensive research, and has been a presenter for both of the major national ADHD organizations.
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Top customer reviews
This makes so much sense that it is hard to believe that it isn't more often prescribed. Putnam hints at the reason: (1) It's not easy for a busy parent to supervise the exercise program, and hiring a personal exercise coach is expensive. (2) "[I]nsurance will more likely cover medication" than therapy or a coach. (p. 13) It should also be noted that Big Pharma is not motivated to conduct research into the effects of exercise on ADHD-labeled children since a positive finding would not favorably affect their bottom line.
Personally, I am highly suspicious of these new "disorders" like ADHD that HMO-driven doctors treat with drugs. There are legitimate cases, no doubt; but most of the time I suspect there is nothing wrong except that this is a child that needs a lot of physical activity and a lot of body/mind stimulation. That is that child's strength. He (most of those diagnosed with ADHD are boys) can be active and effective at a high energy level and take in a lot more from the environment than other kids can. He needs to be up and doing. Putnam sees "movement" as satisfying "the wanderer, hunter, farmer, and gatherer in all of us." This is the message from evolutionary medicine. We evolved in an environment that had us up and doing all day long. The child that craves activity and stimulation is perhaps the truly natural child; and it is the modern environment with its restrictive classrooms and exercise-stealing tools and vehicles that is unnatural. Perhaps the environment ought to be labeled as having PADD (Physical Activity Deficit Disorder).
Consider the program of the typical "soccer mom." Despite all her good intentions, her child really doesn't get enough exercise. First there's the ride to the soccer field, then there's sitting on the bench during perhaps most of the game, then the ride to Chuckie Cheese's afterwards, and then the ride home. Perhaps a couple of hours or more have passed and how much of that time was the child actually exercising? Maybe twenty minutes, maybe ten.
How about at school? How long does recess last? Putnam cites studies that show even a little exercise tends to allow the child to focus better. He even suggests that the very lack of movement forced on the child in the typical classroom situation is contributing to the symptoms of ADHD. He uses the term "proprioceptive feedback" to refer to a mind/body phenomenon that allows us "to adjust our arousal level as well as our sense of tranquility." (p. 22) By the way, I would like to see the amount of time devoted to physical education in our schools doubled. Not only would this help the child that feels trapped in the classroom, but would work against the growing problem of childhood obesity.
Putnam discusses what he calls "optimal stimulation" and analyzes the role of dopamine in an exercise program, and "the runner's high." He considers the wide range of needs that children may have and offers suggestions on how parents may help their child find the right exercise program. He considers motivation and the family dynamics that either foster or hinder the child's opportunity to exercise.
Putnam clearly believes that the use of drugs to treat a hyperactive child should be the treatment of last choice, and I couldn't agree more. Who knows what the long-term effects might be? Read this book and see how you as a parent might be able to make a healthy choice for your child.
In "Nature's Ritalin for the Marathon Mind" Steve Putnam has gotten the word out on the body-mind connection and the effect of exercise on the brains neurochemical system. More importantly, this is done in an easy to read manner making it possible for those in need to understand and to be able to develop a plan that is workable for them.
There is no one treatment for these children. A combination of medication, therapy, and a consistent daily routine is needed. Often exercise is completely neglected but can, as is pointed out in Putnam's credible book, address a number of psychiatric diagnoses while building self esteem, developing consistency in daily routines, and enhancing the general health of our youth. All of these issues need to be seriously addressed in our culture. The rationale to use the "marathon mind" in this positive, healthy way is completely plausable and could greatly decrease or make more manageable these problems for many children and their families. In some cases it may even eliminate the need for medication or placement outside the family home.
I hope the general public and the professionals working with our youth heed this important message. The book is an essential read for anyone living or working with children with these issues.