written by: Finn Orfano
• edited by: SForsyth
• updated: 8/31/2010
Sometimes medications aren't enough or you just don't want to treat your ADHD with them. That's where exercises to improve Attention Deficit Disorder may be able to help those with ADHD to reduce their symptoms.
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While there have been no thorough or recent studies detailing just what the effects of exercise, both mental and physical, can or cannot do for those who suffer from the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), many patients, parents of patients, and doctors have seen results from the regimented use of exercise as a treatment, some results being quite dramatic. Studies have been conducted on the effects of exercise on low self esteem and depression, the two symptoms of ADHD that exercise seems to help the most, and positive results have been found from nearly every study conducted up to this point.
The factor to keep in mind when it comes to ADHD exercises is that different exercises help in different ways, so you may need to do a couple of different kinds of exercises daily to see the full benefits of exercising. Some exercises may get stale after awhile and you may have to combine exercises differently to continue seeing the same results you are used to. And many exercises may not help right away, so you may need to stick with it for awhile to see if it will help you or not. A personal trainer, therapist, or doctor may be able to help you pinpoint the exact exercises that will help you the most.
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Physical ADHD Exercises
For those with ADHD, exercise can be as simple as going for a walk, or taking the dog for a walk if you have one. This can help to burn off some energy, and depending on where you are walking it can also be quite relaxing. Relaxation is something that usually doesn’t come easy for those with ADHD, so this may be the right exercise for you if you have difficulty with this. Practice and patience will pay off when it comes to learning relaxation and what works best for you.
If you need a bit more of a physical release, you may want to consider joining a sport group, or if your child is the one with ADHD, there are plenty of school sports programs they can enroll in. This will give you more of a physical boost in energy at first, as the exercise releases endorphins, but after just a little while you will start to feel calmer and more relaxed while the body replenishes itself after the rigorous activity. Some of these groups may be more competitive than others, so take the time to try out a few and find the group that works best for you. You are doing this to help yourself, not add more stress.
Even daily chores can be a form of physical exercise, so don’t put off raking leaves, mowing the lawn, or making beds until tomorrow – doing it today may just help you relax, and getting things done can help take a few things off your mind to help you feel better.
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Exercises to improve Attention Deficit Disorder can be helpful in reducing or even eliminating the everyday symptoms of ADHD. These mental and physical exercises are meant to target those exact symptoms.
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Mental ADHD Exercises
Most doctors and therapists will agree that the most helpful mental ADHD exercise is relaxing meditation and whether you focus on nothing at all except clearing your mind or you focus on positive imagery and taking yourself somewhere relaxing that you’d like to be instead, this exercise can help your body to relax and your mind to quiet down. Meditation is something that may take a few tries to learn, but it also has proven physical health benefits. Among other things, it reduces anxiety by lowering the levels of lactate in the blood and it increases serotonin which effects mood and behavior.
Some children or adults with ADHD find it hard to concentrate on one thing for very long, and the cure for this is to continue to try to concentrate even when it’s difficult. To help with this, crossword puzzles, word searches or logic puzzles can be used to increase focus and concentration. Many of these can also help with improved cognitive thinking. The next time you find it hard to concentrate, try picking up a book of crossword puzzles to see if it helps you. If these seem too overwhelming, you can even try picking up a coloring book and try to get through one whole picture. This can be quite relaxing, especially if you use coloring as a form of meditation, only thinking about the picture while you are coloring it. No matter what age, coloring can be a form of mental exercise.
Mental exercise can be as simple as counting backwards from 100 in increments of a random number when you feel overwhelmed or stressed. It may take some time for you to find the mental exercises that will help you the most, but taking the time to truly understand how your mind works and how you can help it do what it needs to do is time well spent and you will see the fruits of your labor in no time.