Managing ADHD Naturally, Part 5

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Exercise. Just like drinking enough water, and eating the right foods, exercise is an important facet in a healthy lifestyle and in The Med Free with ADD program. One more thing you don’t want to hear, right?

I don’t blame you. Exercise is boring, at least to me. I was an uncoordinated kid; now I’m an uncoordinated adult. (Problems with spatial perception and a disconnect between mind and body are often part of ADHD.)

They say that the key to making exercise a lifelong habit is to find something active that you enjoy and look forward to doing.

It may help you to know that regular exercise helps manage the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder.

Once again, it all comes back to brain function. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain. Increased blood flow releases growth factors and BDNF – brain-derived neurotropic factor – which, in turn, promotes the growth of new brain cells. All of this activity results in a brain that functions better.

In addition, regular exercise combats anxiety and depression, two conditions that are often linked with Attention Deficit Disorder.

If whatever exercise you’ve chosen involves coordinated or complex movements – that would be pretty much any kind of movement for me – then you’re also building connections in your brain, the same kind of connections your brain makes during social interactions. That’s beneficial for you, if, like many people with ADHD, you find social situations to be awkward or difficult.

I can’t stress enough how vital exercise is to the ADHD brain. I believe that all of the steps outlined in The Med Free with ADD program are important, but this ranks up there at the top.

If you’re like me and not a naturally active, sports minded person, there are still ways to get your exercise without joining a gym, although joining a gym is a great idea, if you go. Here are some easy, fairly painless ways to build some exercise into your day:

Whenever you go somewhere, choose a parking spot further away rather than closer. It doesn’t have to be the furthest, just maybe somewhere in the middle.

Does your local mall have a walking program? If so, join! It’s usually free, and the weather is never a problem.

Get a friend to walk with you every day. Dogs are good for this, too, because they won’t let you skip a day. You also get the added benefit of spending time outdoors.

Get an exercise tape and do it at home. I’ve heard wonderful things about some of the walking exercises.

Put on some music and put a little energy into your housework. Dance while you clean.

Speaking of dancing, taking dancing lessons is a fun way to get some regular exercise.

If you work during the day, get your co-workers together and walk on your lunch hour.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Look into organized activities, like a softball league. This is a great solution for kids – you can’t rely on their gym class to give them enough exercise on a regular basis.

Get yourself a bike, or roller blades, and take a tour of the neighborhood.

I’m sure there are many more ways that you can build exercise into your day. Even just a little more than you’re doing now is a start, and remember, the benefit is a mind that’s more focused and alert.

And if you’re doing this for your child, organized sports or dance lessons outside of school are great ideas. In addition to the exercise benefits, your child also learns teamwork, cooperation, social skills, and so much more.

I’ve also found that exercising for your brain is far less stressful and guilt inducing than exercising to lose weight. Just a thought.

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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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