Physical Activities and Tics

exercise and children photoWe already know the many benefits of exercise on our health, including:

  • Improved physical health
  • Decreased stress
  • Improved mental cognition

However, with tic disorders, exercise has been proven to be effective in two other aspects as well.

First, in a study completed by Nixon, Glazebrook, Hollis & Jackson in 2014, it showed that moderate level exercise can have an positive impact on tics and decrease the severity of the tics themselves. (1) This is an extremely exciting study that shows that by increasing the amount of physical activity and participation in moderate level exercise can possibly have on tics. This means, encourage your children to get out and use their muscles! Explore different ways to motive you or your child into increasing moderate levels of exercise into your daily routine. Although the research shows certain types of exercise are better than others, any exercise or physical activities that will increase motivation and desire to engage in these activities is desired.

Secondly, when motor tics are present, many times tics can be painful secondary to the nature of the movements themselves and frequent overworking of the muscles. Having an exercise program that would stretch and increase flexibility in overworked muscles can help alleviate some of the pain brought on by the tics.

If you would like more information on how to implement an exercise program into you or your child’s routine, please contact your local Tourette Syndrome Center of Excellence physician and care team.




1) Nixon, E., Glazebrook, C., Hollis, C., & Jackson, G. M. (2014). Reduced Tic Symptomatology in Tourette Syndrome After an Acute Bout of Exercise An Observational Study. Behavior modification, March 2014 38: p. 235-263, 0145445514532127.

About the Author


Heather Simpson, OTR/L

Heather Simpson graduated with a B.S. in Exercise and Sport Science with a minor in Early Education from the University of Florida in 2007. Following…

Read all articles by Heather Simpson, OTR/L