ADHD and Exercise

Finding the best treatment is very important to individuals with ADHD, because of the effects ADHD has on so many activities of daily life. Even though treating ADHD with prescription medication is the ideal treatment, recently, exercise has been explored as a practical treatment. Exercise isn't only good for losing weight and fat and toning muscles, it can also help keep the brain in better shape.

Exercising causes the brain to release chemicals called neurotransmitters, including dopamine, which promotes concentration and clear thinking. Inviduals with ADHD often have less dopamine than normal in their brain. Medications containing stimulants are often used to treat ADHD by increasing the amount of dopamine production, in the brain. Therefore, a workout plan can have the same effects as stimulant drugs. These effects enable some people with ADHD to lower their medication dose -- or even stop taking medicines altogether.

One major benefit of exercise is its capability to improve attention span, alertness, and motivation, therefore optimizing productivity and overall mindset. Exercising also produces endorphins, hormone-like compounds that control mood, pleasure, and pain. That same burst of activity also elevates the brain's dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels. These brain chemicals affect focus and attention, which run low in those with ADHD. It also triggers the production of new nerve cells in the hippocampus, the region of the brain that handles learning and memory.

Fitness can ease stress and anxiety, improve impulse control and reduce compulsive behavior, improve skills needed to plan, organize, and remember details, increase levels of the protein involved in learning and memory. It's in short supply in people with ADHD, stay at a healthy weight and reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Experts recommend that you work out about 30 minutes of fitness a day, five days a week.

If you're doing more intense aerobic workouts you can get away with about 75 minutes of exercise a week.

Studies have also found that tae kwon do, ballet, and gymnastics, in which you have to pay close attention to body movements, benefit the attention system.

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