View Full Version : ADHD and exercise


Kunga Dorji
06-08-14, 07:50 PM
In his book "Spark" Dr John Ratey observes a number of case histories of ADHD which is either improved with exercise or deteriorated with withdrawal of regular exercise. He also stresses that complex exercises that require precision movement are best for ADHD.


I know ADHD patients who are exercise addicted because their attention goes off every time they stop exercising.


One of the worst affected patients I know used to work doing hard rubbish pick ups. He was relatively good while doing that-- felt no need for any medical attention at all- but he injured his low back, and deteriorated dramatically when he was not able to maintain the fuel of exercise that was stabilising his attention. He ended up homeless and thrown out by his wife.



I know that my attention deteriorated every time I stopped exercising, and equally I know that the exercises I have developed through Qi Gong and the Ta Ke Ti Na rhythm meditation process have terminated my ADHD.


My analyst sees many ADHD patients- in fact it is becoming a specialty of his as he knows we are quick learners and ready and eager to learn.


He comments that the presentation of ADHD in different age groups is very different.


The older age group (like me) had very active childhoods: lots of sport, bike riding, and tree climbing, and continually playing with our friends after school.


Our ADHD was relatively mild while we were doing that, and receded with adolescence. Hence the old idea that people largely grew out of ADHD.

In middle age, when we become weighed down with office based work, we deteriorate, and especially exhibit more marked symptoms of impulsivity and irritability. I am sure my former wife would agree with that observation.


However, the younger generation spend very little time outdoors. Parents are afraid of traffic and "stranger danger" and children spend so much time in flexed postures gazing at screens and exercising only their thumbs.

What Luis is seeing is that this cohort of individuals is much more affected and more severely disabled by more severe inattention symptoms.


My own case history is illustrative when I sit down and cross reference the course of my difficulties with attention with my then patterns of exercise and fitness. It is also of interest that I have always been drawn to sports that involve balance-- namely cycling and skiing.


So now we are seeing these severe presentations of ADHD in families where there was no diagnosable ADHD in the parents when they were young adults.

(In my case-- there were subtle signs, and I did have a well developed set of unconsciously developed skills to handle my tendency to disorganisation, but I had no real impairment at any stage between about year 9 at school, and age 23,when I suffered 2 years of sciatica following a prolapsed L5S1 disc. I had about 3 years of being actively symptomatic then (Final year Medical School and my first 2 years as a doctor).
By my third year as a doctor though (age 27), I had resolved my pain issues and in fact my former wife noted later that she was in part attracted to me by my calm and competence in the emergency ward- so I had very few issues then.

In fact from then on I had no real disability until my struggling attention was overloaded by the extra challenges of parenthood, combined with the impact of computers and the internet (both of which cut into time available for exercise) and recurrent injuries that disrupted my ability to maintain exercise due to chronic pain.


All that time, (1987-1994) the only real symptoms were occasional insomnia, difficulty stopping worrying about difficult problems, a certain low (but manageable) level of disorganisation, and difficulty handling hostile patients or holding my own in business negotiations.

However the number of challenges escalated progressively:
-first child 1994
-second child 1997
-extra work to pay off the mortgage- 1993-2000
-the arrival of computers and the internet from about 1998-9
-increasing neck and back pain compromising my ability to exercise -progressively from 1993- but much worse with more computer work
-legal battles to escape from a corporate which had taken over our practice.

and the amount of work escalated, and exercise diminished.
As that happened- pain and insomnia increased- and my ADHD literally evolved from a shadow syndrome to a full blown and virulent version- which ended up with my own marriage collapsing, and a brief period where I was effectively homeless.

sarahsweets
06-09-14, 04:37 AM
Exercise for me, has been a god send. I can focus on it and it sets me up to have a really productive day. i needed the right meds to get to this point though. I wish i could share the benefits of exercise with people so they could know what it is that I feel. I am not sure that it treats my adhd in anyway but it sure helps my mood, my anxiety, my focus and adds balance to my day. I missed the gym the whole weekend and I wont feel right until I get back into the swing of things this morning. Exercise has way more benefits than I ever thought possible.

mildadhd
06-09-14, 02:21 PM
I'm really nervous about finding and joining a drumming group, but I want to get over that.

I wonder if we could somehow start a online drumming/percussion group here at ADDF?

I have no idea how to do that but I am still curious?

Log on and play with others world wide, as best we can, on the keyboard or something?

I used to work in a warehouse and we used to "jam" with the different horn sounds on the forklifts, was a lot of fun.

Nothing complex but it was really fun.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrITj4Mp88k





P

Snapdragon
06-09-14, 03:04 PM
Exercise for me, has been a god send. I can focus on it and it sets me up to have a really productive day. i needed the right meds to get to this point though. I wish i could share the benefits of exercise with people so they could know what it is that I feel. I am not sure that it treats my adhd in anyway but it sure helps my mood, my anxiety, my focus and adds balance to my day. I missed the gym the whole weekend and I wont feel right until I get back into the swing of things this morning. Exercise has way more benefits than I ever thought possible.

Mind if I ask what types of exercise you do? I go to a place that only does classes but they moved and my year membership is ending. Trying to decide if I should join the Y or continue.

Unmanagable
06-09-14, 04:12 PM
Originally posted by Peripheral: I'm really nervous about finding and joining a drumming group, but I want to get over that.

From my experience, one of the reasons I love our community drum/rhythm circle (and all of the others I've visited) is because no one expects commitment, ability, or any specifics. You just show up, if you want to, and participate at whatever level you're comfortable with. You can show up and just observe, as well. There's a few folks who come each week with a lawn chair and a book and just soak up the energy.

If you don't make it, no one ever gives you s*** for it, but will mention they missed your presence. I know a lot of peeps sneer their nose up at the word magic, but for me, it's truly a magical experience every. single. time. I go. I was pretty intimidated and uncertain when I first started going, too.

Kunga Dorji
06-10-14, 12:51 AM
A small quote from Spark- John Ratey:

the brain’s attention system, a diffuse linkage of neurons that hitches together areas controlling arousal, motivation, reward, executive function, and movement.

That starts to nail the importance of this nexus between exercise and attention.