Outride Research Library

At Outride we seek to prove that our intervention of school based cycling will provide the best outcomes in academic, health, and social success for kids with ADHD and other learning differences; However, there is an entire body of research that supports our work. Below you will find a synopsis and link to key research articles in related topics.

Schools and Physical Exercise


Top Ten Reasons for Quality Physical Education

Guy Le Maurier, Charles B. Corbin

Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance

August 2006

This article reviews the most convincing arguments for continued, quality physical education classes in schools. To date, research has demonstrated that physical education programs lead to increased physical activity, improved self-concept, motivation, increased self-efficacy and improved motor skills. Authors cover examples ranging from physical activity preventing diseases such as obesity, to regular physical activity promoting learning and lifetime wellness, ultimately educating the “total child.”

Exercise and Children’s Intelligence, Cognition and Academic Performance

Phillip D. Tomporowkski, P.H. Miller, C.L. Davis, J.A. Naglieri

Educational Psychology Review

June 2008

This review examines several published studies that have examined the impact of physical activity on children’s intellectual function, cognitive abilities, and academic achievement. Researchers conclude that, similar to adults, exercise activates children’s executive functioning (the processes required to select, organize, and properly initiate goal-directed actions). This connection, therefore, proves exercise to be a simple method of improving such aspects of children’s mental functioning critical to cognitive and social development.

Physical Activity and Performance at School

Amika Singh, PhD; Leonie Utijdewilligen, MSc; Jos W. R. Twisk, PhD; Willem van Mechelen, PhD, MD; Mai J. M. Chinapaw, PhD

Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine

January 2012

Researchers frequently link sports and physical education within schools to healthier physical health outcomes in children. However, in this systematic review, researchers investigated the connection between physical activity and academic performance. After reviewing ten observational and four intervention studies, researchers found participation in sports or physical activity to be positive related to academic performance in children.

The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance

US Department of Health and Human Services / CDC / National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention And Health Promotion / Division of Adolescent and School Health

July 2010

The World Health Organization recommends children participate in 60 minutes of physical activity daily. If such recommendations are met, multiple health benefits accrue, both physical and mental. In this report, researchers synthesize the scientific literature that has examined the association between school-based physical activity, including physical education, and academic performance, utilizing indicators of cognitive skills and attitudes, academic behaviors, and academic achievement.

Physical Exercise and The Brain


Be Smart, Exercise Your Heart: Exercise Effects on Brain and Cognition

Charles H. Hillman, Kirk I. Erickson, Arthur F. Kramer

Nature Reviews | Neuroscience

January 2008

Aerobic exercise has been proven to improve a number of aspect in cognition and performance. This article examines the positive effects of physical activity on cognition and brain function, from the molecular level, to the cellular, systems and behavioral levels. Describes impact of physical activity on cognition from childhood through adulthood, finding positive effects from improvements on mathematic tests and memory in children to the maintenance of cognitive function in elder years.

Exercise is brain food: The effects of physical activity on cognitive function

Michelle Ploughman

Developmental Neurorehabilitation

July 2008

This commentary takes a more scientific approach to examining the relationship between physical exercise and cognitive function, particularly in youth with disabilities. Ploughman discusses animal models in which physical activity has been proven to enhance memory and learning, promote neurogenesis (growth and development of nerve tissue), optimize cortical development promoting lasting changes in brain structure and function, as well as protect the nervous system from injury and neurodegenerative disease. The article concludes that physical activity is especially important for youth whose brains are highly plastic and perhaps even more critical for young people with physical disabilities.

Effects of Physical Exercise on Cognitive Functioning and Wellbeing: Biological and Psychological Benefits

Laura Mandolesi, Arianna Polverino, Simone Montuori, Francesca Foti, Giampaolo Ferraioli, Pierpaolo Sorrentino and Giuseppe Sorrentino

Frontiers in Psychology

April 2018

This review focuses on the structural changes that occur as a consequence of physical exercise on the brain, specifically focusing on both biological and psychological positive effects of physical exercise through studies on brain plasticity and epigenetic mechanisms in both animals and humans. This research indicates that physical exercise can not only improve cognitive functioning, but also serve as a protective factor for neurodegeneration.

ADHD and Physical Exercise


CDC ADHD Fact Sheet

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This one page fact sheet gives an overview of the definition, symptoms and next steps for parents who may have concerns over whether their child has Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder. More information can be found on the CDC website here: Full CDC ADHD Site

Knowledge and Information about ADHD: Evidence of cultural differences among African-American and white parents

Regina Bussing, Nancy E. Schoenberg, Amy R. Periwien

ADHD is considered the most common child psychiatric disorder in the United States. However, little is actually known on the demographic of children the disease affects. This study examines ethnic differences in knowledge and sources of information about ADHD. Researchers found significant differences in the knowledge of ADHD or information received from physicians between African-American parents and white parents. Researchers conclude that more research must be completed to inform culturally appropriate education campaigns and to improve access to services for this important treatable child mental health condition.

Measurement of Effect of Physical Exercise on the Concentration of Individuals With ADHD

Alessandro P. Silva, Sueli O. S. Prado, Terigi A. Scardovelli, Silvia R. M. S. Boschi, Luiz C. Campos, Annie F. Frere


This study aims to quantify the effects of physical exercise on children and adolescents with ADHD. Participants were required to complete tasks measuring their attention after physical activity ( a five minute run). Results showed improvement in performance with a difference of 30% over those who did not perform the exercise before. Researchers concluded that with this quantitative assessment, exercise can improve the attention of children with ADHD and may help their school performance.

Exercise Improves Behavioral, Neurocognitive, and Scholastic Performance in Children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Matthew B. Pontifex, PhD; Brian J. Saliba, BS; Lauren B. Raine, BS; Daniel L. Picchietti, MD; Charles H. Hillman, Phd

The Journal of Pediatrics

March 2013

This study examines the effect of a single bout of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise on children with ADHD utilizing objective measures of attention, brain neurophysiology and academic performance. After the bout of exercise, results showed children with ADHD exhibiting selective improvements in regulatory processes, greater performance in reading and arithmetic, and inhibitory control.

The Relationship Between Physical Activity and Executive Function Performance in Children With Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder

Jennifer Gapin, Jennifer L. Etnier

Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology


Executive functions (EF) are defined as the cognitive functions that serve to maintain an appropriate problem-solving set to attain a future goal, and allow for individuals to perform daily life activities, appropriate behavior, and academic and social function. Individuals who are diagnosed with ADHD frequently perform more poorly on a range of EF tasks than control participants. This study investigates the relationship between physical exercise and executive functioning in children with ADHD. Researchers found physical exercise to be a significant predictor of success on EF tasks, exemplifying that higher levels of physical activity in children with ADHD is associated with better EF performance.

Mental Health and Physical Exercise


Cycling Is One of the Best Activities You Can Do to Banish a Bad Day

Selena Yeager

Bicycling Magazine

August, 2018

This article summarizes what we all already know, biking makes us feel better. Yeager discusses a study published in the Lancet, which evaluates exercise and mental health, finding improved mental health measures in people who exercised more.

Academic and Educational Outcomes of Children With ADHD

Irene M. Loe, MD and Heidi M. Feldman, MD, PhD

Journal of Pediatric Psychology

January/February 2007

ADHD is typically associated with poor academic performance as well as an increased use of school-based services, increased rates of detention and expulsion, and lost rates of high school graduation. This review investigates academic and educational outcomes utilizing several strategic approaches, and ultimately finds pharmacologic treatment and behavior management associated with a reduction in the core symptoms of ADHD, but not with improved ultimate educational attainment.

The Benefits of Exercising for the Clinically Depressed

Lynette L. Craft, PhD, Frank M. Perna, EdD, PhD

The Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry


Involvement in structured exercise has shown promise in alleviating symptoms of clinical depression. Depression is a condition that affected an estimated 3.1 million adolescents in the US (NIMH) in 2016, and continues to be ranked as the leading cause of disability in the country. This review examines a growing body of research examining the relationship between exercise and depression, finding, in some cases, evidence of exercise providing the same treatment effects as psychotherapy.

Effect of physical exercise on depression, neuroendocrine stress hormones and physiological fitness in adolescent females with depressive symptoms

Chanudda Nabkascorn, Nobuyuki Miyai, ANek Sootmongkol, Suwanna Junprasert, Hiroichi Yamamoto, Mikio Arita, Kazuhisa Miyashita

European Journal of Public Health

August 2005

The effects of physical exercise not only impact pediatric populations diagnosed with ADHD, but also have demonstrated improvements in adolescent females with depressive symptoms. This study recruited participants to join an exercise program for eight weeks, and then utilized psychiatric assessments to determine whether improvements were seen in total depressive scores. Researchers found improvements in scores as well as decreases in stress hormones, concluding that group exercise may be an effective solution to improving depressive symptoms