Creative Exercise Options for ADHD

It is no secret that exercise is good for us and if you live with ADHD, you know that it’s essential when caring for your ADHD. When you exercise, your brain releases several important chemicals, like endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. These chemicals affect your focus and attention. They also boost creativity and just make you feel good. It is nature's way of fighting off stress and an anxiety. 

As we mentioned in our Exercise and ADHD podcast, you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get the benefits of exercise. I love the comment that Pete makes in the show about how it feels like an appointment in the gym is going to take all day long. That statement is so true and can become a real stumbling block when trying to find time to exercise. However, that is just a perception of time, it isn’t really how long it really takes. You only need to exercise around 30 minutes a day. To me that is great news; I can do 30 minutes and so can you! 

Another common roadblock with exercise is boredom. As some of you already know, boredom can be one of the worst things in the world. If something bores you, you will avoid it at all costs, subconsciously or not, even with the best intentions, you will find something else to do. 

If your chosen exercise has gotten boring, it’s time to jazz it up! It may also be time to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. 

Here are a few ideas to try: 

Walking and Running - If your daily walk or run has gotten boring, one way to change it up is by setting up new rules. For example, maybe it's your designated time to listen to your favorite podcast or book. This gives you more motivation and something to look forward to. Another idea is to change your route, but instead of just turning left instead of right, I suggest actually getting in the car and driving to a new place. Or better yet, meet up with a friend. Now you have included some accountability with the new scenery! 

Hiking - I live in the Pacific Northwest and one of the benefits of living here is the number of different hikes in our region. What a great way to get outside, get some fresh air, and get a good workout in. Along your way, stop and do 20 push-ups and tricep dips. This was something I learned from bootcamp; it's hard work, but you feel great at the end.  Try challenging yourself! 

Yoga - Interested in some mindfulness along with getting some exercise, try yoga. I was first introduced to yoga by a personal trainer where we started and ended all of workouts with it. I do suggest if you're new to yoga, try a beginning class or have a trainer or an instructor give you a private lesson to get started. You want to make sure your form is correct and this is difficult to know just by watching a video. What I love about yoga, is once you have a basic routine, you can add positions as you go, which means you can do yoga anywhere at anytime and it's never the same. In the summer, I love doing yoga in my backyard. Nothing is more peaceful than listening to birds and nature all around you. 

CrossFit - CrossFit is a full-body workout that combines cardio, weight lifting, core training, and anything else to surprise the body. For example, box jumps can be a part of CrossFit and not something you normally do in an aerobics class. CrossFit is great for the ADHD mind as there is a lot of variety and your constantly moving from one exercise to another. There's not a lot of time to get bored and it's very rewarding when you make it through a class! 

Boxing - Boxing is a fantastic way to develop your mental focus, toughness, and muscles all at the same time. You use your upper and lower body in quick movements, which requires your attention and you get both an aerobic and anaerobic workout in one. Many gyms offer boxing classes where you are not required to spar, but can learn the technique along with getting a great workout. Or you can try sparing for an added challenge. 

There are many more options out there to look into. If it’s in your budget, check out your local health clubs to see what kinds of classes are offered. I’ve seen clubs offer a variety of classes from basic aerobics, barre, spinning, and kick boxing. If you like to swim or play tennis, I would look at clubs that specifically tailor to those exercises as well. 

For more information on how to fit exercise into your daily schedule, click here. 

Until Next Time...

Nikki