Author Biography: Stephen C. Putnam

Stephen C. Putnam holds an M.Ed.degree 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.

Excerpts from Reviews and Commentaries,
Nature’s Ritalin for the Marathon Mind
Nature's Ritalin for the Marathon Mind

  • We highly recommend Stephen Putnam’s book. It’s full of tips and ideas for helping your child through the world of exercise. If you have a child with ADHD or ADD, you’ll return to the book often.
    Carol Goodrow, KidsRunning.Com
  • In testing his theories, Putnam brings together a wide range of studies, anecdotal evidence, and laboratory research. The results of that research show aerobic exercises have a chemical effect on the brain similar to that of Ritalin and other psychostimulant drugs. The book provides details on determining the optimum amount of exercise, setting exercise schedules, and motivating an ADHD child. While not an “anti-Ritalin” book, it does introduce alternative treatments and will be a welcome resource for parents of ADHD children.
    Today’s Librarian
  • The usefulness of this resource goes beyond ADHD. People with other dysfunctional diseases such as depression, anxiety, and sensory deprivation may benefit, according to the author, who discusses the pros and cons of exercise as an alternative treatment. Readers may use the book’s checklists, motivational ideas, tips, and tests to find how an individual is affected by exercise. These suggestions will help set up a program of fitness. Methods to take a heart rate, and exercise safety and risks are also discussed to develop a safe program. The author uses medical research and studies to back up his concepts. This handy guide could transform the struggle with a “difficult” child into an enjoyable, healthy relationship.
    ForeWord Magazine
  • Stephen C. Putnam’s Nature’s Ritalin for the Marathon Mind: Nurturing Your ADHD Child with Exercise details an often-overlooked ADHD treatment: strenuous movement. Provides suggestions for motivation, scheduling, and determining the right amount of activity.
    Mothering Magazine’s “Latest and Greatest Books for What’s Bothering You”
  • In the book, Putnam documents studies, laboratory research, and other evidence that shows that regular exercise can control symptoms just as well as drugs for many children and adults with ADHD.
    The Union-News (Springfield, Mass.)
  • Steve Putnam shares an important concept that needs to be fully considered as a useful and eminently rational alternative to those popular drugs whose long-term effects on our children’s brains/minds and personality development remain to be evaluated. He DARES us to get it right.
    Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D., Dept. of Psychology, Bowling Green State University
  • Steve Putnam’s book is fascinating. It is a “must-read” for anybody interested in ADHD.
    Thom Hartman, author, Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different Perception
  • Nature’s Ritalin for the Marathon Mind offers an abundance of information and practical advice on the use of physical activity as an alternative or adjunctive treatment for ADHD. The book provides a stimulating, balanced discussion of issues associated with incorporating exercise into the treatment regimen.
    Britton W. Brewer, Ph.D., co-editor, Exploring Sport and Exercise Psychology
  • I find this volume very exciting. It makes avoiding the obvious extremely difficult. It could have a major impact on our lives and the lives of our children. I hope we’ll take heed.
    W. Mark Shipman, M.D., director, Institute for Developmental Research, San Diego Center for Children

Contact information for Stephen C. Putnam

To contact Steve Putnam by e-mail, Click Here. Journalists who would like additional information or who would like the publisher’s help in arranging coverage should call Upper Access at (802)482-2988 or e-mail us .

Sample questions for journalists and talk-show hosts

  • Why is ADHD reaching epidemic proportions today? What is different today than in the past,when the condition was far less common?
  • Are you just saying that children who are over-active need to run around and let off some steam? Or are the issues more complicated than that?
  • Do the medications for ADHD make it harder for children to become motivated to exercise?
  • What if a child isn’t interested in sports, or is uncoordinated and unable to make the teams in school?
  • Is it safe to just stop taking medication in order to try exercise as an alternative treatment?
  • If exercise is helping, will more exercise always be even better?
  • Describe aerobic exercise. How can we tell if a child is exercising at that level?
  • Should childen be forced to exercise, with a threat of punishment if they don’t?
  • How can we get young children to exercise, when there are so many passive enjoyments like video games and television?
  • Teenagers in particular resist doing what their parents and other adults urge them to do. How can they be motivated to exercise more?
  • How formal and rigid should the exercise program be? Should we insist that children use heart monitors, for example, and keep track of their progress in journals?
  • Is exercise therapy actually being used in schools and other venues, or is this all just a theory at this point?
  • Is it appropriate to give children rewards for exercising? Isn’t there a danger that they’ll become spoiled and expect rewards for everything they do for their own good?
  • Is it realistic to expect that the faculty and staff at school can adopt exercise programs, or that overworked parents can find the time?
  • Your book concentrates on children. Does exercise also work for adults with ADHD?
  • You say that many people, once they start exercising, can develop a positive addiction to it. How does that happen? Is there a danger that it could become a negative addiction?

Catalog listing of Nature’s Ritalin

For the complete listing of information about Putnam’s book Nature’s Ritalin for the Marathon Mind: Nurturing Your ADHD Child with Exercise, Click Here