Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD, is a common mental health condition. Most people with this condition have trouble controlling impulsive behaviors, paying attention, and becoming overactive. These symptoms are due to the imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. ADHD can also be related to hormonal imbalances, so make sure not to skip your annual hormone testing.
ADHD treatment may involve therapy sessions and medication to help you stay focused and organized. However, there’s another ADHD treatment that won’t require you to visit a therapist’s office or ask for a prescription, which is exercise. Getting enough exercise can help boost your thinking ability and improve your ADHD symptoms.
How Exercise Affects Your Brain
Regular exercise is essential for your brain health, regardless if you have ADHD. Below are the factors on how exercise can stimulate your mental health:
Can Improve Memory
As we age, our memory will start to decline. This is due mainly to the blood flow in our brain. The veins and large arteries will slightly stiffen as we add more numbers to our years, which usually leads to less effective blood circulation throughout our body, including our brain.
Regular exercise can fight off stiffening of the vascular system and avoid memory loss. Furthermore, aerobic and anaerobic exercises can help improve your cardiovascular function.
Can Improve Mood
Two of exercise’s most vital side effects on the brain are promoted feelings of well-being and improved mood.
For example, after performing a high-intensity workout or a good run, you might notice a euphoric feeling, also referred to as “runner’s high.” This is due to the chemicals your brain releases after a good exercise, primarily endocannabinoids and endorphins (responsible for mood improvements).
Can Enhance Learning
Brain plasticity is a significant factor in the learning process. This is because the nervous system can efficiently change its activity in response to external or internal stimuli. Furthermore, according to research, regular exercise is one of the ways you can improve brain plasticity.
Performing regular exercise can also help you retain new physical and mental skills. Moreover, the learning improvements linked to exercise are accomplished by altering how our brain cells transmit with each other.
Why Exercises are Beneficial to People With ADHD
ADHD is a condition that can make it difficult to focus and stay on task. While there is no cure for ADHD, there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms. One treatment option that is often recommended for people with ADHD is exercise.
Exercising have been shown to be beneficial for people with ADHD in several ways:
Boost Dopamine Release
Dopamine is responsible for having feelings of reward and pleasure. If you have ADHD, your dopamine levels are slightly lower compared to other people in general. Furthermore, many stimulant medications, even ones with known side effects, can help increase your dopamine levels to help reduce symptoms and improve focus. However, another way you can increase dopamine is by exercising regularly.
Improve Executive Function
Your frontal lobe controls your executive function, a group of skills you use daily. These tasks include the following:
- Paying attention
- Organizing and planning
- Recalling details
- Managing time
If you have ADHD, these functions are mainly impaired. That said, you can improve your executive function by doing regular exercise.
How Often Should You Exercise?
According to health experts, it’s recommended to get at least 150 minutes of exercise weekly. After that, you can divide it into about 30 minutes a day, five days a week, to make room for rest days. However, if you’re doing intense workouts, you will be fine with having exercises 75 minutes a week.
Try to vary your exercise routine. This is essential to avoid focusing halfway or losing interest in your workouts. As long as your heart is pumping and you have been sweating, you’ll most likely see positive effects, especially on your ADHD symptoms.
If you want to maximize your overall health benefits, combining aerobic and resistance training is recommended. You might want to consider the following:
- Martial arts
- Boxing class
- Spinning class
- HIIT (high-intensity interval training)
- Weight lifting
Other Tips Worth Your Time
The following are several tips that can help you get regular exercise with ADHD:
Keep It Fun
Most adults with ADHD tend to procrastinate. If your exercise routine is uninteresting, you will most likely drop the whole thing. Thus, it would be best to choose an exercise you like.
Find a Fitness Buddy
Looking for a fitness buddy can be a good strategy to keep you going. They can help you stay on schedule and stay interested in your chosen exercise routine. In addition, according to studies, exercising with a friend or fitness buddy helps motivate people to do exercise. This is crucial if you’re someone with ADHD since you easily get distracted and bored.
Get an Exercise Coach
Getting a coach is a great way to stay organized with your exercise schedule. A fitness coach can help you reach your goals, which include a healthy diet and regular exercise. Moreover, a coach can also help you manage your time wisely.
To Sum It Up
If you have ADHD, regular exercise is recommended. Doing so is crucial in controlling your symptoms. Thus, it isn’t just for making you fit and healthy but also to help you stay on an even keel.
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