How to Move Your Body to Manage Your ADHD

by | May 5, 2022 | ADHD Symptom Control | 0 comments

exercise and ADHD

Okay, so you remember why you need to exercise for your ADHD?

Here’s a quick review: Exercise releases brain chemicals connected with ADHD (dopamine and norepinephrine) which are essential for focusing, paying attention, and finishing tasks. 

Plus moving your body can help release excess energy for hyperactive ADHD and give energy to those with inattentive ADHD. 

(Want to go deeper into the why? Click here.)

If you have ADHD, you will want to include exercise in your ADHD toolkit. But how? And where? And what’s the best way to maintain it? Cause yes, exercise can be HARD.

Grab your sneakers and let’s dig in…

How Much Exercise Do You Need?

Aim for about 20 – 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, five days a week. 

If you can’t do 30 minutes of movement at once, incorporate short bursts of movement throughout the day. Whenever you feel you’re out of focus or your brain is going sideways.

Walk up and down the stairs. Run in place for a few minutes. Put on music and dance. Anything that gets the heart rate up. Just take the ADHD magic pill. Get up and get moving.

Some Tips for Adding Exercise to your Daily Routine:

  1. Check out available apps on your smartphone. There are plenty that offer free workouts – 7-Minute Workout, Daily Yoga, Nike Training Club are just a few.
  2. Get outside to walk or run. This has the triple effect of being out in nature with fresh air and a change in scenery.
  3. Exercise simply means moving your body and that includes doing yard work, cleaning your house, chasing your kids. Try to incorporate movement into every activity.
  4. Get your kids to join in and play games that require physical activity – Simon Says, soccer, Hide-n-Seek, Tag, hula hoop, mirror each other’s movements.
  5. Put on some music and dance.
  6. Call someone on the phone and walk around the house. You’ll be amazed how fast you can get your steps in when you’re chatting with a loved one.
  7. Check out in-person and virtual classes at your gym, library, yoga studio, dance class.
  8. MAKE IT FUN. Put on music, tune into an audiobook, watch TV while you do sit ups, jump on a trampoline.

As for me? Before the pandemic, I was a regular at group classes in my local gym. I loved the social aspect. However, like many of us, once COVID-19 hit, I had to figure out different ways to exercise for my ADHD.

I’ve fallen in love with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). It’s so much quicker and easier than my old gym routine. After a quick warm-up, I alternate sprints on my mini trampoline with a bit of weight lifting. My brain lights up in about 10 minutes. A quick stretch and I’m done. Exercising for my ADHD was never easier!

Now let’s get honest and tackle the #1 reason ADHD adults don’t exercise.

Solving the #1 Reason ADHD Adults Don’t Exercise

It’s boring. Mind-numbingly boring.

At least it can be if you’re trying the wrong kind of exercise. To exercise with ADHD you need exercise that motivates you. Seduces your ADHD brain to get up and move day after day.

If you avoid exercise for your ADHD because it bores you, I challenge you to think deeper. Stop trying to force an exercise program. Instead, find exercise you’re naturally pulled to.

Here are some things to think about…

  • Do you need exercise to be quick and easy? I do. That’s why I love my HIIT program I described above.
  • Are you goal-oriented? Will you get out and run if you’ve signed up for a triathlon or a marathon?
  • Are you social? Do you need the company of other people or friends to exercise? Then consider taking classes. Or joining a team of some sort. Walking with a buddy.
  • Are you trying to exercise at the wrong time of day? A night owl who expects to be at the gym bright and early won’t be able to sustain that commitment.
  • Do you need exercise to be fun? There are so many interesting things to learn! Beautiful hikes to take. Bike paths to explore. Fun things to do. Don’t settle for going to a gym if that doesn’t excite you.
  • Do you crave quiet and less stimulation? What about swimming or yoga or tai chi? Exercise that reduces the chatter of your noisy brain.
  • Do you need to sneak up on exercise? Take the stairs instead of the escalator. Try out one of those short, intense online exercise apps?

Please don’t let boredom – the #1 reason ADHD adults don’t exercise – stop you. Use your creativity to outsmart your resistance. Stand up and fight to build a brain that supports you.

Wondering What’s the Best Exercise for ADHD?

That answer is simple. The best exercise for ADHD is the one you’ll do. The exercise that pulls you to get up and move day after day.

That means you need to figure out how to make exercise interesting or fun. 

I challenge you to figure out your ADHD exercise prescription. Your ability to flip on that brain switch and live more easily with ADHD depends on it!

Let me know how you move your body and what ways you plan to incorporate more activity into your day below!

Keep moving toward living easier with ADHD with these resources:


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