Adults with elevated symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder:
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This dissertation involved two studies of physical activity in adults with elevated symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). One study described leisure time physical activity of 221 U.S. adults who screened positive for ADHD, and then quantified the association between physical activity scores and ADHD symptoms and selected health outcomes. Participants classified as insufficiently physically active were characterized by low vitality and were more likely to report feeling anxious and depressed. The participants engaged in similar physical activities and in similar amounts compared to other samples of adults in the U.S. without elevated ADHD symptoms. ADHD total symptom scores and symptoms of inattention were significantly negatively related to mild physical activity in females but not males. This dissertation also investigated the feasibility and psychological effects of six weeks of Bikram yoga in adult women with ADHD symptoms. Participants (N=32) were randomized to either 6 weeks of Bikram yoga or to a wait-list control group. The yoga intervention consisted of two 90 minute Bikram yoga sessions per week at a local yoga studio. Participants visited the UGA Exercise Psychology lab on three occasions (baseline, 3 weeks and 6 weeks) to have assessments made of their cognitive function, mindfulness, trait anxiety, and expectations for exercise to enhance their cognitive function. No adverse events were observed. Attendance averaged 91.7% among the 69% of the sample that did not dropout. No significant Group X Time interactions were found for any of the psychological outcomes and the null executive function findings were unchanged using mindfulness, anxiety and expectation scores as time varying covariates. The conclusion of this study was that 6-weeks of Bikram yoga training twice per week is potentially feasible for women experiencing ADHD symptoms but an exercise stimulus of this duration and magnitude yielded no beneficial cognitive or mood outcomes.