The following series is an article from MSN Health and Fitness written by Lisa Farino

Before 10-year-old Tyler began taking medication for ADD, he and his mother had devised a creative way to help him focus on his homework. After school, he’d run laps around the yard before sitting down to complete his math homework. And if he really got antsy or unable to focus, it was back to the yard for a few more laps.

Tyler-a smart, articulate fifth-grader who enjoys every subject at school besides music-explains why these running breaks were so helpful: “Before I started taking medicine, it was hard to sit in a seat for a long time.”

It seems Tyler and his mother may have been onto something. Ample research suggests that all children, especially those with ADD or ADHD, need school recesses and other unstructured play time to function at their best.

That presents a growing problem for kids, as it’s estimated that 40 percent of elementary schools across the country have cut back on–or have eliminated–recess in the past decade.

The need for play isn’t being met after school either, as time that used to be devoted to unstructured (often outdoor) play is now being replaced by an increasing number of structured activities (such as piano and gymnastics lessons) or passive indoor activities like watching TV, playing video games, or surfing the internet.

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