It's hard to miss the many articles in the popular media about the beneficial effects of exercise on the
brain. They are everywhere!
Just a few days ago I saw a TED talk that literally got me out of my chair and moving. I think you'll find it full of information and inspiration. Even though it doesn't mention ADHD and is directed at the general population of neurotypical people, it is still highly relevant for us. It just doesn't go quite far enough. For those of us with ADHD, the benefits of exercise can be even greater than for the general population. Dr. John Ratey, who wrote Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, discussed some added benefits of
exercise for adults with ADHD in a June 2017
article in "US News and World Report."
A bout of exercise is like taking a little bit
of Ritalin and Prozac. It does the same thing as these medications -- elevates the neurochemicals dopamine and norepinephrine as well as serotonin, which helps with anxiety and stress.
Since many people with ADHD also experience depression and anxiety, it is important to know that exercise can elevate mood. This is one reason why Exercise is the topic of this second in my series of ADHD Hints
called "Establishing the Foundation for Thriving with ADHD." (If you missed the first one on Sleep, let me know.)
Other positive results of exercise, some anecdotal and some based on ongoing research, include increased ability to clear your head, improved attention and focus, relief of stress, and expending energy.
If you are wanting to get into a better exercise routine, here are a few suggestions for making that happen:
- Connect exercise to your goals, so you know why it is important to you to start this habit. Maybe you
want to feel better or look better or work better.
- Create a routine to lessen the mental drain of planning exercise events. For example, if you go to a gym you might create a check list so you don't leave home without the equipment you need, or keep an exercise bag packed and ready to go.
- Find an exercise buddy,
either in person or virtual, to either exercise with you or to whom you will be held accountable for reporting how you have met your exercise goals.
Here's just a sampling of other resources online about ADHD and exercise:
Until next Wednesday!