Stephen C. Putnam holds an in Guidance and Psychological Services from Springfield(Mass.) College. As an adult who had been diagnosed with ADHD, he took up marathon  canoe racing and found that the exercise transformed his life. It helped him to focus his mind, and overcome the other effects of ADHD, better than medication. Canoeing also became a healthy, enjoyable family activity that he shared regularly with his children.

In researching the issue (comparing all available laboratory research and interviews with parents, counselors, and other adults who work with children), he was able to confirm that exercise has effects on the brain similar to Ritalin, with similar benefits for those with ADHD.

The result of that research is his book, Nature’s Ritalin for the Marathon Mind: Nurturing your ADHD Child with Exercise. The book has won widespread acclaim from mainstream physicians and other health professionals, as well as those who support alternative treatments. Putnam emphasizes that this is not an “anti-Ritalin” book—as medications have proved their value in a great many cases. However, he has shown that for many children (and adults), a regular schedule of exercise is a viable alternative, without medication’s unwanted side effects.