Most of us are aware that exercise is critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but is more important for some than others?
“When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals called neurotransmitters, including dopamine, which help with attention and clear thinking. People with ADHD often have less dopamine than usual in their brain.” WebMD
“With regular physical activity, we can raise the baseline levels of dopamine and norepinephrine.” ADDitudemag
So, even though exercise is great for nearly everyone, individuals with ADHD may benefit even more due to their already lower levels of dopamine.
Overall benefits of exercise:
- Lower risk of heart disease and diabetes.
- Lower weight will reduce stress on joints.
- Exercise lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
But what about ADHD in particular?
- Exercise has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety.
- Exercise interventions have the potential to improve both behavioral symptoms and neurophychological neuropsychological functioning of school-aged children with ADHD.
- Regular exercise results in improved impulsive and compulsive behavior.
- Exercise improves working memory and executive functioning.
- Exercise “helps kids with the condition push through past failures and attack things they didn’t succeed at before.”
What’s the best exercise? The simple answer is whatever will keep you motivated. Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be hard. A walk with a friend is exercise. A round of golf is exercise. A game of badminton is exercise. Find what works for you.
- Do you hate jogging but love to dance? Then dance.
- Are you having difficulty motivating yourself to get to the gym? Enlist a buddy to meet you there, both for accountability and social interaction. I find it’s just more fun to exercise with someone.
- Do you struggle with joint pain? Swimming may be the answer.
- For added benefit, studies have shown that being in nature increases the benefit of exercise.
- Because ADHD brains like to try new things, be diverse in your exercise regime, but structured in calendarizing the exercise time. For example, schedule exercise time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but try Crossfit one day, Kickboxing another, and possibly a dance class on the third day.
What can you do to step up your exercise game?
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National Institute of Health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3724411/
Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.
Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.