Exercise and ADHD

Exercise and ADHDTo the average adult with ADHD exercise takes a back seat to almost all other activities. Work, family and friends, errands, sleep and even housework! These activities are important, however so is exercise. Exercise not only helps the longevity of your body, but it helps reduce some of the negative effects of ADHD too. For example, exercise improves your attention, mental focus, memory, mental stamina and allows you to expend pent up energy. Dr Hallowells says  “Exercise stimulates epinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, like meds. So exercising is like taking meds for ADHD in a holistic, natural way”.

So what can you do to make sure exercise is part of your daily life? As well as choosing a form of exercise that is fun for you and one that is convenient, a powerful way is to look to those people who you admire and are inspired by. Perhaps your favourite sports personality or someone who you know personally. There is one particular example of someone we all know who I find very inspiring and that is Barack Obama.

On the 4th of November 2008, the eyes of the world were on America and its election day. Barack Obama made history by becoming the first African American president. His political views, beliefs and sincerity resonated with millions worldwide. It was a huge day for him and his young family. Over two years of hard work on the campaign trail culminated on this day. We can only imagine the intense emotions he must have felt. That evening when the results were official, he stood in front of 125,000 people in Chicago and gave a speech that brought people to tears and gave people goose bumps all around the world. I am guessing he didn’t get much sleep that night.

Do you know what Barack did around 6 am the morning of the 5th of November? After this momentous day? He went to the gym. Then he put on a suit and started his day.

Now if anyone could excuse themselves from a visit to the gym that day, it would have been Barack Obama. Some thoughts that might have popped into his mind: I am too tired, too busy, I have just been voted the next president of the United States! Even if those excuses did come to his mind, he went to the gym anyway.

What can you do to make sure you exercise regularly?

  1. Make exercise part of your daily routine so that it would be just as hard not to exercise as not brush your teeth at night.
  2. Think of who inspires you to exercise and use them as a motivation to get you moving.
  3. Give yourself a healthy reward after you exercise.
  4. Next time an excuse pops into your head about not exercising, think of Barack.
  5. Notice and enjoy the benefits that exercise has on your ADHD.

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  1. Stephanie says:

    I have found that the type of exercise that works best for me is mixing it up, but I have to mix it up with structure. I do triathlons, b/c even my sport of choice can’t make up its mind. I have a lot of friends who want the benefits of fitness that can be gained from endurance training (typically running is assumed as the most popular endurance sport), but many of my friends are a bit ADHD like me. Just running gets old, so I began to mix in cross training…then one day I became a triathlete. Swimming, biking, and running were life savers for me!

    Having a goal (like a scheduled race) in mind makes me stick with training… it became a part of my daily life. With endurance training, diet is very important… so by necessity, I found myself sticking w/ a better diet when I started doing triathlon. When I eat junk, training stinks. When I eat well, I train well! 🙂

    • Hi Stephanie
      Triathlons sound like the perfect sport choice for ADDers!! That is so cool how you discovered them. Totally agree having a race is a brilliant motivator to exercise and to eat right. When is your next race?

  2. Susan Morse says:

    Hi Jacqueline,
    I love your newsletter and always look forward to reading it when I see it in my inbox! Congrats on getting an iPhone! I did the same last summer and I felt the same as you about making the switch (and still do!)
    An app that I found and like that relates to this article on exercise is called Charity Miles. It works for walking, running and biking or any sport where you are covering distance that the GPS in your phone can track. For every mile you trek Charity Miles donates to the charity of your choice. Before you set out on your trek you pick from a list of charities. Very cool app!
    Another app that I love that you can only get for iPhone (or at least that was the case last summer) is Dr. Hallowell’s Crazy Busy app.
    I hope you enjoy your iPhone!
    Thanks for delivering such informative and enjoyable newsletters.
    Susan Morse

    p.s. take a look at my website, relaunched it in January and it is much more informative now. always a work in progress!

    • Jacqueline Sinfield says:

      Hi Susan
      Thanks for your lovely comment. Glad you like the newsletters!
      I checked out your website and it looks great..congratulations.

      LOVE your App suggestions! I have downloaded them and going to start using them ASAP! will include them in the ADHD App Resource list’

      Really loving my iphone so far, and the longer I have it (its been 6 days so far 🙂 the more great I think it is!!!

  3. So true and it was always easier said than done…before. But I have seen the difference that it makes in my life and now it’s much easier to fit into my day. I also find we set ourselves up to fail by thinking we need to do 30-60 minutes of cardio to see results. What I have found is that doing 10-15 daily is what is working for me and my brain. Then if there is one day I decide not to do the cardio I don’t feel bad…but I do notice the difference and that is what motivates me to stick to this new plan. It’s SO worth it! Great article…thank you!

    • Jacqueline Sinfield says:

      Hi Lori
      What a great point you make. If you think you have to exercise for an hour, it seems to long and overwhelming..and so it gets put off to another day. Where as if you break it down and just do 15 minutes a day that seems do able and becomes a daily event.

      Love that you know what works for you…and that exercising for 10-15 mins helps you and your brain!!!!

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