There is a growing body of literature to support the use of high intensity exercise to improve self-regulation, cognition, and mental health in children (Lubans et al., 2016). Researchers have found that aerobic activity improves behavior in children, and it has been particularly beneficial to children with ADHD. Manville moves is a cyber cycling intervention that has yielded positive behavioral outcomes amongst children with behavioral health disorders (Bowling et al., 2017). Dr. Amy Wheadon is a former doctoral student of mine and she created the Kidshine Bootcamp program in 2016 based on the premise that intense physical exercise can improve self-regulation in children with sensory processing disorders. As part of her doctoral program at New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) she conducted research at my clinic in Warwick, RI to investigate the efficacy of her program; the results were significant. Children in the Kidshine Bootcamp groups improved in numerous areas of sensory processing. For a more detailed description of the study, it can be found on research gate. The Kidshine Bootcamp program draws upon a variety of theories and it includes interventions that target social skills, sensory processing, motor planning, coordination, self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-regulation. This unique program is designed and implemented by occupational therapists who are trained to treat children holistically.
I personally attend classes at Orange Theory Fitness (OTF) in Medway, Massachusetts. Orange Theory Fitness is a high intensity interval training for adults. I joined OTF to achieve personal fitness goals but in reflecting about my own personal experience I realize that it has offered so much more. I feel more regulated when I go to class in the morning. Attending OTF has also had an impact upon my mental health. I enjoy connecting with the coaches and the other members. I feel like I am part of a community. Through this pandemic we have supported and encouraged each other. Staff and members have diligently maintained an atmosphere of safety while we work out in our masks behind plexiglass barriers. Participating in classes help us meet our fitness needs, social emotional needs and the need for routine and normalcy during this past year. I may not be the fastest or strongest athlete but my tribe at OTF makes me feel like I can do anything.
The parallels between OTF and Kidshine Bootcamp are many. If children at my clinic can reap the benefits of intense exercise just as I have through my involvement in OTF, it is obvious, I have to offer it. If your children would benefit from enhanced motor planning and coordination, improved sensory processing and self-regulation, increased self-confidence, and self-esteem, look for a Kidshine Bootcamp program at a clinic near you.
Dr. Randal FEdoruk
I am a pediatric occupational therapist. I have worked with children in various settings for over twenty years. I am a professor and I teach pediatrics and mentor Doctoral students completing research with a pediatric focus.