New bike-based curriculum could help students with ADHD

urbanbicycle6It’s called Riding for Focus, and developers say it’s the first academic program of it’s type in the country. It uses bicycling to help improve the ability to focus for middle school students with ADHD.

Ben Rollenhagen is an instructor in the department of physical education and sports at CMU. He says research has been taking place over the last few years to find the greatest impacts riding has with characteristics of ADHD.

“They’re finding that spending a certain amount of time on a bike, whether it’s 60 to 85% of their max heart rate, for 15 to 20 minutes, starts to effect their attention, their mood, their attitude, things like that in the classroom. So that’s what one the key components of the curriculum as well.”

Rollenhagen says bicycling improves focus by engaging the brain in a number of ways. Riders have to pay attention to speed, movement, and the surrounding environment.

He says the curriculum has been implemented in nine schools across the U.S. There are plans to implement it in 20 more in the fall.

To learn more about the program, visit the Riding for Focus webpage.