Just about every expert in the ADD field will tell you that exercise is one of the best ADD management strategies there is. According to the book Delivered from Distraction:
When a person exercises, she sets in motion a cascade of events that her brain loves. She sends more blood to her brain. With more blood comes more oxygen. Exercise also stimulates the release of a plethora of nutrients, hormones, chemical precursors of neurotransmitters, growth factors and cleansing agents that bathe the brain in precisely what it needs to function at its best.
From Delivered from Distraction by Edward Hallowell, M.D. and John Ratey, M.D. Copyright 2005. Page 219.
And in addition to the health and focus benefits, exercise feels good. So why do we not do it more?
For many adults with ADD, the answer to that question is “boredom”. When exercise becomes boring for an ADDer, it becomes something to avoid.
Here are 4 strategies for alleviating the boredom associated with exercise:
1. Get out of the Gym
Many ADDers join gyms with a lot of excitement, only to find that their enthusiasm wears out quickly. Being on a stationary bike, treadmill, or stair climber for 30 minutes begins to seem like torture after a while.
Instead of feeling forced to get your exercise at this gym, take these activities outside. Walk or bike around the neighborhood, or find some real stairs to climb! Change of scenery goes a long way in alleviating boredom.
2. Follow the Seasons
Find seasonal activities that you might enjoy. In the winter, skiing, ice skating and snow showing are great forms of exercise. In the summer, the choices are almost limitless: team sports, swimming, rollerblading, biking, etc.
3. Join an Activity Club or Take a Class
A great way to ensure that you get regular exercise is to follow some pre-set structure. Exercise classes that meet once or twice a week for an hour or so will really help you shape up. Try dance or martial arts classes for a good workout!
Or, if there is a physical activity that you really love, but never allow yourself the time to enjoy, give yourself permission to join an activity club. You’ll meet new people, spend more time on what you enjoy, and get your exercise in the process.
4. Use Music
If you must go to the gym, bring along some headphones and some fun music. It will keep your energy level up, and will allow you to focus on something a little more interesting than the wall in front of your exercise equipment.
Exercise is an excellent tool for managing ADD. It offers many physical and mental health benefits, and it can be a lot of fun! Remember, when an ADDer starts to get bored with exercise, it is time to mix it up.
Note: Always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.