The Best Exercise for ADHD

by | Feb 18, 2016 | ADHD Symptom Control | 2 comments

the best exercise for ADHD

What’s the best exercise for ADHD? Great question. I get asked that a lot.

I could launch into details about which exercise best supports the ADHD brain. I won’t. Because to get ADHD adults up and moving we need to look at something else first.

We have to make exercise more interesting.

(You can read more about why you have to exercise to control your ADHD symptoms here.) 

Frankly, I have a heck of a time getting my clients to exercise. There are two main reasons: Time and boredom.

Experience has shown that if we can erase the boredom than the ADHD adults I work with are more apt to find the time to exercise.

That’s why you need to figure out how to make exercise more fun so you’ll do it.

What’s the Best Exercise for ADHD?

It’s the one you’ll do.

The exercise that pulls you to get up and get moving day after day.

That means you need to find it interesting or fun. Perhaps it helps you reach a big goal.

Here’s another way to look at it…

I’ve decided when it comes to ADHD there are two types of exercise – Fake Exercise and Real Exercise.

Fake Exercise is any exercise that bores the heck out of you and you have to force yourself to do. Maybe lifting weights at the gym or jogging or walking on the treadmill while watching TV. Perhaps it’s walking the dog on the same route day-after-day.

Remember, this is all deeply personal. What may be mind-numbing boring to you may thrill the next person.

ADHD adults launch into Fake Exercise programs with great intentions. Except they can’t force themselves to stick with them for long. If the exercise doesn’t interest them they soon wiggle out of it.

Real Exercise is doing something, well, real. Like dancing or playing tennis. Skiing or yoga. Hiking or walking with a friend. CrossFit, surfing, rock climbing. Real Exercise is more fun. It pulls you in. You don’t do it just for the sake of working out. You do it because you get to play or challenge yourself.

If you keep flaking out of a Fake Exercise program look for types of Real Exercise instead. Activities that are fun and interesting. Things you’re drawn back to day after day, week after week.

May I use myself as an example?

The best exercises for my ADHD self are yoga and boot camp. These help my brain work, plus they keep me flexible and strong so I can do other fun stuff like ski and hike and dance. Walk those naughty dogs, too.

I’ve learned that what makes yoga and boot camp real for me is the social aspect. I go to a small gym early each morning and take classes with the same people. We’ve become friends. We chat and encourage each other. I’m a social animal and thrive on that.

That combination of a small, friendly gym where I can take classes early in the day is what pulls me back six days a week.

I challenge you to figure this out. Your ability to live more easily with ADHD depends on it.

What type of exercise is best for your ADHD? Be realistic. Think about what you need and what you like to do.

The best exercise for ADHD is the one that you’ll do. Take a class. Reach a goal. Learn something new. Play. Socialize. Find that secret ingredient that you need so you’ll get the exercise your ADHD brain needs.



  1. Jeff

    Oh but if I could. As a caregiver with add who has been keeping my wife alive for years I have zero life of my own. With the thousands of leathal mistakes medical people have made over the years that I caught in time and zero recourse I feel like I’m the unpaid medical staff provider. A slave. Then, now that I got a triple bypass and with my time off my wife’s health took a serious dip. She’s been great, helping me when she can. Thankfully, because she is a woman, she has a home health aid twice a week and a visiting nurse once a mo th to draw blood that helps a bit. No such services are available to the men. But I feel over worked, under excersized, and trapped. With adhd making routine available excersize so horrible. Wish any program like you have were available here. And my doctor says I must excersize to get the grafts to hold. I was sure hpooingvthis article had some actual useful advice.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Welcome to ADHD Success

Tired of struggling with ADHD? You’re in the right place. ADHD Success is loaded with free, practical tips to help you get organized, manage your time, and live more easily with Adult ADHD. Like what you read? Sign up for the newsletter now! No Spam. I promise!

Like Dana on Facebook: