Adult ADHD and Exercise

Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 12 May 2022

Table of Contents:

  1. Adult ADHD and Exercise
  2. Exercise and the Brain
  3. More Reasons to Exercise
  4. How Often Should You Exercise?


Adult ADHD and Exercise


ADHD will make it more difficult to pay attention, regulate your emotions, and complete tasks. Medication and counselling sessions can be used to assist in being organised and remaining centred.

Exercise is one form of ADHD treatment that does not entail a prescription or a visit to a therapist's office. Regular physical activity has been shown to enhance cognitive capacity and can even help with the symptoms of ADHD.

Exercise and the Brain


Exercise is beneficial for more than just losing weight and toning muscles. It can also allow the brain to stay in better shape.


When you exercise, the brain produces chemicals called neurotransmitters, like dopamine, which aid in concentration and clarity of thought. Dopamine levels in the brain of people with ADHD are often lower than normal.


Stimulant medications, which are often used to treat adult ADHD, function by increasing dopamine availability in the brain. As a result, it's not surprising that a workout may have many of the same effects as stimulants.


Adults with ADHD will benefit from fitness in the following ways:


  • Reduce anxiety and stress.
  • Increase self-control and decrease compulsive behaviour.
  • Boost your working memory.
  • Enhance executive ability. That is the collection of abilities required to schedule, arrange, and recall information.
  • Boost the amount of neurotrophic factor extracted from the brain. That is a protein that plays a role in learning and memory. It is scarce in people with ADHD.

More Reasons to Exercise


Apart from alleviating ADHD symptoms, exercise has a number of additional benefits. Regular exercise will assist you in the following ways:


  • Maintain a healthy body weight. This is important because research indicates that individuals with ADHD are more likely to be overweight.
  • Reduce the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
  • Maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Strengthens bones.
  • Improve attitude and sense of self-worth.


How Often Should You Exercise?


Health professionals suggest getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. This equates to approximately 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week.


If you engage in more vigorous aerobic exercise, such as running or indoor cycling lessons, you can get away with about 75 minutes of exercise per week.


It makes no difference what kind of exercise you do. For instance, you might try running, biking, enrolling in an aerobics class, or lifting weights. Carry out whatever type of exercise you enjoy.


Make an attempt to vary the workout routine. This way, you won't lose interest or concentrate mid-workout. You can also alter the routine in the middle, for example, by doing interval training. 30 seconds running or cycling, followed by 30 seconds to a minute of weight lifting.


As long as you're sweating and your heart is beating, exercise is likely to have a true, beneficial effect on your ADHD symptoms.

If you're having difficulty keeping motivated, consider finding a workout partner. A friend might assist you in staying on track by ensuring that you workout on the majority of weekdays. Your fitness partner will keep you responsible, ensuring that you do not skip workouts.


Referenced on  30/4/2021

  1. National Institute of Mental Health: “Can adults have ADHD?"
  2. North Carolina State University: “Exercise and ADHD."
  3. CDC: “Physical Activity for Everyone: The Benefits of Physical Activity."
  4. Archer, T. Neurotoxicity Research, February 2012.
  5. Barkley, R.A. Taking Charge of Adult ADHD, Guilford Press, 2010.
  6. Kim, H. Neuroscience Letters, October 2011.
  7. Pagoto, S. Eating and Weight Disorders, September 2010.
  8. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: “ADHD FAQs."

Previous Post

ADHD in Teens

Next Post

Cancer Support: How To Build Your Team

Related Posts