The Importance of Exercise for People with ADHD

ADHD also known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects both children as well as adults. ADHD can negatively affect academics, peer relationships, as well as the ability to hold down a job, and adult relationships. There are many different ways people can get help with handling this disorder in themselves or their children.  Both my husband and my oldest son have ADHD. Growing up my best friend had and still has ADHD. It is a constant struggle for those who have it and is not something I would wish on anyone.

You can use supplements and medications as well as therapy to help control ADHD symptoms but one thing I have found that helps both my husband, son, and best friend is regular exercise. I am not saying you should use exercise as your only treatment.

As most of my regular readers already know, we homeschool our sons so it is really easy to incorporate regular exercise into their daily school routines.

With my husband I have noticed that after doing something such as yardwork like push mowing our lawn he has an easier time concentrating for the rest of the evening.

I used to go to the gym regularly with a group of friends. This was before we had kids and I would notice a huge improvement in my friend’s attention when we would leave the gym .

It may seem like magic, but truly it is just science.

Exercise helps people with ADHD the same way most of ADHD medication works.  Most doctors prescribe stimulants to patients with ADHD. Stimulants work by increasing the amount of dopamine in the patients brain. For most people with ADHD this helps them concentrate better, and deal with their self control better as well.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter/neurohormone that is produced by the brain to help control attention, motivation, movement, and pleasure. Some studies have shown that people with ADHD’s brains often times produce less dopamine than those who are neurotypical. In those patients, providing them with more dopamine via medication helped them with their symptoms.

Another way to help increase the levels of dopamine in your brain is to exercise. As you exercise your brain releases more neurotransmitters including dopamine. So getting regular exercise can help with symptoms of ADHD.

Exercise has helped my Son:

Reduce  his fidgeting-

This is a big thing for my son. He will pick at things, and chew on things so much when he has not done a lot of exercise that day. We also recently bought, and I made him some fidgets to help him on the days he just can’t stop fidgeting but still needs to pay attention.

 Reduce his anxiety-

His anxiety is normally related to schoolwork, and when he was in public school it was related to school in general. This is not nearly as bad as when he was in public school but on his bad days when his attention is lacking he gets a bit anxious. Often we take a break and do a quick exercise and then get back to it.

Retain information better-

Sometimes we even have him do exercises like jumping jacks while we are going over flash cards (he loves flash cards). This seems to help him retain the information we go over so much better than if we were just sitting at the table going over them. 

Improve his concentration-

Similar to the one above doing exercise before or during something that needs his concentration really helps him.

Sleep longer through the night-

This is a big one for us as when he doesn’t get a good amount of exercise he will wake up a few times a night and still get up extremely early. 

Let us know how exercise has helped someone you know with ADHD.

Thank you,

The Momnipresent Mother


10 thoughts on “The Importance of Exercise for People with ADHD”

  1. As a teacher, I think this article is so encouraging. Great way to share alternative ideas. So informative and motivational.

  2. I don’t personally know anybody with ADHD but it is amazing to realize how exercise seems to work magic to your son’s well-being. I gather you’re one fabulous mom. Keep it up!

  3. Awesome. Exercise has so many great benefits, and I’m glad it’s helped your son and husband. I personally workout to help with my own anxiety and depression. It’s such a great supplement to my medication.


  4. This is very helpful! I have a son with overexcitabilities and exercise helps him focus too. Exercise is so great for helping children expend energy and develop greater focus.

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