Dr Balu Pitchiah MBBS, MRCPsych, CCST,MBA (OXON)
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Can Exercise Help with ADHD?

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Getting ADHD treatment right usually requires a multifaceted approach. Medication can play a part in it, but it can be just as important to think about your lifestyle, behaviour patterns and diet. One of the tools that can be used to manage ADHD effectively is exercise.

ADHD Treatment

How Exercise Help

In addition to helping improve your general health, exercise has some important benefits for people who are affected by ADHD. Getting plenty of exercise:

  • Helps you to get a better night’s sleep
  • Improves your mood
  • Boosts concentration

Exercise can help both adults and children with ADHD because of the impact that being physically active has on our brains. Moving around in a focused way activates the attention systems of the brain that help us to sequence and prioritise actions, to concentrate, and to remember. Giving these parts of the brain a workout while you exercise can also make them work better the rest of the time.

Exercising with ADHD

You don’t have to be a serious athlete to enjoy the benefits of exercise for ADHD treatment. All you need to do is to choose an activity that you enjoy and then to do it regularly. Simply walking, running or cycling can be a great way to start getting active. Joining a team or class is a good idea if you find it easier to focus in a social atmosphere. Activities such as dancing, martial arts and gymnastics that require you to focus on your movements are also a good choice as they are particularly good at boosting concentration.

Sticking to a routine when you exercise can make it easier to stay motivated to exercise. It can also add some extra structure to your day. You should start with an intensity and amount of exercise that feels comfortable for you and then gradually do more. Seeing the improvement in your strength and speed can be a great confidence boost. It can make it easier to make similar efforts in other areas of your life.

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