Exercise Has Many Benefits, even though it is one of those things that most people don’t like. But it’s a necessary evil, unless you learn to love it, especially the benefits it brings to all the other facets of a person’s life. One of the most important benefits of exercise for ADDers is it brings clarity of thought. Exercise takes oxygen and fuel to the brain, ensuring that it functions better.
Michelle Obama, the former first lady of the United States, had this to say, “Exercise is really important to me - it's therapeutic. So if I'm ever feeling tense or stressed or like I'm about to have a meltdown, I'll put on my iPod and head to the gym or out on a bike ride along Lake Michigan with the girls.”
Some ADHD experts go so far as to say that exercise is the most important therapy for ADHD, and should be ranked above all the others. I disagree slightly with that view, but do rank it alongside the other 7 components in our Treatment Wheel. Exercise more than once a day is difficult to do in the kinds of environments that most people learn and work in. You can’t just get up and have a 15 minutes workout every hour, or even every 2 hours.
That exercise is very beneficial for ADHD is without doubt. The benefits are woven throughout every component of any treatment program, a sort of golden thread spreading good things everywhere it goes. But not all exercise regimens are good for ADDers. It’s not so much the exercise, it’s the boredom and rejection factor that comes into play here.
Going to a gym and running on the same spot for 20 minutes, then sitting on a cycle going nowhere for another 20 minutes, and then doing a round of other exercises for another block of time, and doing all of that in the same place, at least three times a week, alongside the same people who are doing the same program… you get a sense of why it’s so boring.
The activities and sports that we have found to be most suited to most ADDers are walking, surfing, martial arts, mountain biking, canoeing, and so on. You will see that they are generally non-team sports, which have almost no possibility for getting bored.
A wise professor once said that you should feed your mind at the same time as you nourish your body. Get out of bed, get in your car, drive to a beautiful spot, like the sea, or the mountains, or a park, and exercise in that beauty. Michele Obama did that as her option, riding along Lake Michigan. Bearing in mind that a whole Secret Service operation had to accompany her, you can see why this was the second option.