How Exercise Helps Minimize ADHD Symptoms – 5/24/2022

ADHD — or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — is a mental health condition in which people may have difficulty paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors and emotions, completing tasks, and being hyperactive. It is caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in the brain, primarily dopamine, and has a significant genetic component, although it can also be caused by environmental factors, premature birth, low birth weight, brain damage, and alcohol or tobacco use during pregnancy. the pregnancy.

Traditional methods of treatment include medication and behavior management, although more progressive approaches include dietary and exercise modifications. Research is finding that getting regular physical conditioning can improve thinking ability and improve ADHD symptoms.

As I’ve said several times, exercise is not just good for losing fat and toning muscles. It also helps maintain brain health. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals called neurotransmitters, including dopamine, that aid attention and thinking. This is positive for people with ADHD, who often have altered dopamine levels.

Positive effects that training can bring to those who have the disorder

– Promotes the release of dopamine The neurotransmitter is responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward. In people with ADHD, levels of dopamine in the brain tend to be slightly lower than those in the general population — this is thought to be due to the way dopamine is processed in the brain in people with ADHD. Many stimulant medications prescribed to people with the disorder seek to increase dopamine levels as a way to improve focus and reduce symptoms. However, a reliable way to increase dopamine levels in the brain is through regular exercise, as staying physically active can have similar effects as stimulant medications.

– Improved cognitive function, which is a group of skills controlled by the frontal lobe of the brain, including paying attention, managing time, organizing and planning, multitasking, remembering details — in people with ADHD, these functions are often impaired. A study of 115 adults, 61 of whom were diagnosed with childhood ADHD, observed significantly impaired cognitive functions among those with ADHD. Another study of 206 college students found a link between the total amount of daily exercise performed and their levels of cognitive function. In both children and adults with ADHD, regular exercise may be a promising non-drug treatment method for improving cognitive function, which is one of the key skill groups affected by the disorder.

– Changes BDNF signaling Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a key molecule in the brain that affects learning and memory. Some studies point out that BDNF may play a role in causing ADHD. Among the potential complications of BDNF dysfunction are depression, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, and regular physical exercise can help normalize BNDF. That’s what a review showed that found that aerobic exercise significantly increased BDNF concentrations — however, more studies are needed to prove this.

– Improves behavior and attention In children, especially, exercise is a positive alternative to release pent-up energy. Research indicates that physical activity has several benefits for children with ADHD, including less aggressive behaviors, improvement in anxiety and depression, improvement in social problems and attention, in addition to assisting in weight control, reducing the risk of comorbidities associated with excess weight. (such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, joint and bone problems and even some types of cancer).

How much to do?

At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week is recommended, resulting in approximately 30 minutes of fitness per day, five days a week. If you opt for more intense aerobic exercise — like running or taking indoor cycling classes — 75 minutes of training a week is enough.

Most studies of adults with ADHD use aerobic exercise protocols. But probably (and as we already know from the vast literature of the various benefits) it is even more beneficial to include a combination of aerobic and resistance training to maximize the overall health benefits. Examples of exercise include walking, running, cycling/spinning, transporting, martial arts, HIIT, and combining cardio and strength training.

For young people with ADHD, intentional exercise is less important than the total amount of physical activity they do each day. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children age 6 and older (with or without ADHD) get at least one hour of physical activity a day to maintain a healthy weight and promote proper development. Some of the suggested activities are cycling, playing sports such as basketball, football, tennis and volleyball, playing tag, jumping rope, hopscotch, etc.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do. Do the workout you love, but do it! Try varying your exercise routine. That way, you won’t lose interest or focus mid-workout. You can even change exercises midway through your routine, as long as you have a frequency to reap the results and benefits of your workout. And if you’re not motivated, look for friends to accompany you, set attainable goals and go little by little.

References:

CDC. How much physical activity do children need? Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/children/index.htm

Schroeder, EC, Franke, WD, Sharp, RL, & Lee, DC (2019). Comparative effectiveness of aerobic, resistance, and combined training on cardiovascular disease risk factors: A randomized controlled trial. PloS one, 14(1), e0210292. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210292

Rassovsky Y, Alfassi T. Attention Improves Physical Exercise in Individuals With ADHD. Front Psychol. 2019;9:2747. Published 2019 Jan 9. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02747

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Web Med. Adult ADHD and Exercise. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/adult-adhd-and-exercise

About Jenni Smith

She's our PC girl, so anything is up to her. She is also responsible for the videos of Play Crazy Game, as well as giving a leg in the news.

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