What kind of exercise?

This week's topic: ADHD and Exercise.

Today's question: What kind of exercise is best for a person with ADHD?

Two-part answer.

The current textbook answer is this: vigorous aerobic exercise has a neurochemical effect similar to the stimulants prescibed for ADHD, on a SHORT-ACTING, IMMEDIATE basis. In other words, run now, be able to focus better for a few hours. There are positive mood and neurological effects over time as well.

This means that some people do better on a daily basis if they work out before sitting down to focus on things, or before a meeting, etc.


Part Two:

You need to figure out what exercise works for you; this is a trial-and-error investigation, and it may continue throughout your life, since you want to exercise throughout your life.

Some people find that some types of exercise help them to clear their minds and find calm, even if they aren't aerobic- think rock climbing or weight lifting.

Different people need different levels of novelty and challenge in their exercise to allow them to stay motivated- and not hating what they're doing- and hopefully enjoying it. If you're bored and it makes it feel unbearable, you need to tweak or entirely change what you're doing, since most people with ADHD don't do well with boredom. Trying to push "through" boredom won't help, it is definitely a case of working differently, not harder (other than you might want to workout harder- in the same or a different sport!)

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

How intense does my exercise need to be to let me focus on it (quiet my mind)?

What makes exercise hold my interest? What allows me to get to the exercising? Is it time management and prep (of your gym bag for example)? Is it a social aspect? A challenge aspect?

How challenging does my workout need to be?

Will I need to change up what kind of exercise I'm doing?

Examples: some people do well in a club environment for any sport. Some need team competition; some need one-on-one competition (running, swimming, tennis). Some need goals like an event or competition. Some need to really break down what their exercise plan and goals are.Some just need convenience- a wii fit or similar, exercise videos, or an exercise bike or treadmill in the house. Or watching tv while they workout.

All of this talk is making me itch to work out. I love lifting weights; running feels good. I used to do a bunch of things but I've been down with an injury for quite a while.