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Women with ADD/ADHD This forum is for women to discuss issues related to being a woman with AD/HD.

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  #1  
Old 07-27-08, 09:03 AM
egg1869 egg1869 is offline
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ADHD Women & Exercise

Hi:
This is a thread about women out there who manage their ADHD (hyperactive/impulsive subtype or co-morbid anxiety types) with exercise (with or without meds.).

--How much do you exercise?
--What types of exercise do you enagage in?
--When/how often/how long?
--What effect does this have on you/your life?
--How do you manage your exercise schedule?
--Can you offer advice to women who would like to start exercising as a way to manage their ADHD?
--Do you know of any recent articles/research that encourages vigorous exercise for ADHD women?
--Have you always been physically active or did you just start recently?

Thanks for the feedback,
egg
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  #2  
Old 07-27-08, 02:45 PM
Schylla33 Schylla33 is offline
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Re: ADHD Women & Exercise

First of all, I'm a big fan of making exercise as effortless as possible, meaning something that becomes a natural part of your life. Two years ago I lost 45 lbs. and although I've tried to lose wieght in the past but gained it all back, this time it seems that I better able to keep it off b/c I live in the city. Living in the city requires one to walk a lot, which makes a huge difference for me - running this errand and that errand can add up to about 40 min of walking a day, and I still go to the gym a couple times a week (I'm pregnant now and due soon, so I can't move around too much these days)...but I can say that my pregnancy has bee nvery healthy so far - I only gained weight over the past 4 weeks (12 lbs), and I have 4 weeks left to go - the weight I've gained is all baby and placenta and stuff...

If you're trying to lose weight, it's better to spend more time at the gym anyway at first - I would suggest a personal trainer, it's money well spent b/c a good one will get you on the right track and introduce you to the weight room...

Please do NOT be afraid of lifting weights - I've been doing it since I was 18 when I started crew in college and I have not bulked up, even when we spent about 2 hours a day, 3 days a week when rowing. I don't spend that much time there anymore, and neither do you, so trust me, you will not look like a bodybuilder! It's so important for women to gain some muscle...things are just easier to do when you're stronger, you recover faster from injuries, you can actually eat a bit more, b/c you're always burning calories, and clothes fit you better. Plus when you get old, your bones will be that much denser so you won't have to worry about faling and breaking a hip - if you do that, your chances of recovering aren't good.

Instead of women spending most of their time doing cardio and men spending most of their time lifting weights, women need to go lift weights (no nautilus machines either - using dumbells, etc help you use opposite muscles) and men need to go to yoga class or get more limber in some way...but unfortunately there are cultural biases against both so neither take advantage...

Speaking of yoga - I'm a big fan of that as well...I've alays believed that stress will kill you if you don't know how to manage it in a healthy manner, and yoga goes a long way toward showing you how to do it...yoga also forces you to be present, b/c the minute you stop thinking about the pose you're in, you'll fall out of it...the meditation part is my favorite - all it really is letting thoughts pass you by in your head, not clinging to one particular thought - if you find yourself hyperfocusing on something, let it go - it's not that easy, but with practice (and it really is the journey here that matters in this case) you'll become more relaxed and refreshed...

Play a sport - it makes fitness fun...I've tried a lot of different sports during my life (from soccer to lacrosse to martial arts), but I think the best sports for ADD folks (and I'm sure there are those who may feel differently) are those where you can kinda lose yourself and not think about strategy, like running, biking, rowing, swimming, maybe even martial arts - your goal is to make it from point A to point B and nothing else, so you can let your mind be on autopilot a bit and kinda take your mind out what you're doing and just let your body go...I would even encourage you to sign up for a race so you can train - it give you a goal and the feeling of finishing is like no other...all throughout my life I couldn't run - I'm really slow and until college and rowing, I was out of shape - I got stories of being far, far behind my teammates when running at first, almost a good 5 min beind them, but I kept doing it and I eventually caught up with them...

Not only did I do that, a couple of years after college I trained for a completed my first maraton - to know that just a few years prior I was gasping for air after half a lap around the track and here I was, able to run and finish a marathon - I'm prouder of that than finishing school...

I think with or without medication, exercise is a fabulous way to manage your ADD, manage your stress and feel better about yourself...exercise and sports has taught me that you really can do anything you want, and you will get it done, no matter how long it takes...and whatever your goals are, b/c we as ADD folks may have some other issue to deal with, you MUST have patience with yourself and IGNORE others' progress (if they're doing the same thing you are). The tortoise and the hare really does apply in life...

Sorry this is so long, but exercise and sports have a special place my heart...

One more thing - limit limit limit your TV watching - if you have a TV in your bedroom, get rid of it! Watch the shows you like to follow and that's it, maybe even cut a few, and get out of the house!

If you have any questions, drop me a note - I also coached rowing before I started law school - I've taught adults to row from scratch and coached college students during their land workouts, which included the weight room...I'm not a fitness professional, but I can at least give a bit of free advice and tell when you should go to a professional...

Good luck!
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Old 07-27-08, 03:53 PM
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Re: ADHD Women & Exercise

I don't really exercise in any formal way, and since I'm not overweight, it is hard to become motivated.

However, life provides me with exercise:

I tend to park far away from my destination, because it's easier to find my car when it's all by itself, or because I seldom have change for the meter. (Heh...I know where all the free parking is in this town.)

I use stairs more than elevators, because it is faster, and I am impatient.

I wander around looking for lost items a lot. (does that count?)

We live in a two story house, and I forget stuff a lot, which means lots of stair climbing.

I do things "by hand" quite a bit, for example, I hang out my laundry when weather permits, which means I have to iron some things, and I hand wash and dry my dishes. (no dishwasher.)

I wash my car at home.

I walk my dogs twice a day.

We have a yard to maintain, but no power equipment, so the lawn is mowed with a manual mower, pruning with and hand saw, digging with a shovel, etc.

The best part about all of that is that we save money, get stuff done, and movement of any kind is exercise in my book.
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Old 07-27-08, 07:14 PM
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meadd823 meadd823 is offline
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Re: ADHD Women & Exercise

Quote:
--How much do you exercise?
Daily - but not necessarily in a structured way as I should. Exercise should be a daily thing - and even when schedules get thrown off {my worst exercise Deterrent} physical activity in the form of aerobic exercise would be no less than five days a week in my opinion.

I will share hyperlinks to expert opinions later in this broadcast


Quote:
--What types of exercise do you enagage in?
Lifting in my job five days a week - walking in my own five days a week except I have done poorly the last two weeks. The thing about exercise is that is comes in a wide variety - choice depends upon circumstance and individual preference



Quote:
--When/how often/how long?
Five days per week - one hour a day for me. Exercising as little as thiry minutes a day is better than no exercise at all.

How much do you need?

You don't have to become a marathon runner to benefit your brain. The mainstay of exercise is simple, brisk walking, Professor Ratey says.

You'll feel the benefit even from a 30-minute walk. "That's what people need to be doing as a minimum, ideally four or five times a week. If you want to do more, then great."

Professor Ratey also recommends interval training – really pushing yourself hard for between 20 and 30 seconds while running, cycling or swimming, so that you are momentarily exhausted.

Do, say, two minutes of walking, 30 seconds' sprinting, then two minutes of walking again. It doesn't have to be a lot for a long time, but you will really notice the difference. "The side effects on the body aren't bad either - I lost 10 pounds in no time," Professor Ratey says.

{End Quote}

Quote:
--What effect does this have on you/your life?
To many to list in a single post - exercise decrease my PMS symptoms, it also decrease the incidences of depression related to fluctuations in my hormones.

Exercise also improves my ability to concentrate and I notice I am less easily agitated.

There are many more benefits list in John Ratey's blog hyperlinked above



Quote:
--How do you manage your exercise schedule?
It has to be routine and on the list of must do priorities along with brushing my teeth, taking a shower and washing my clothes. Exercise like those activities listed is part of self care.

Quote:
--Can you offer advice to women who would like to start exercising as a way to manage their ADHD?
Don't over thing it don't make it to confusing just do it - beginning today

Quote:
--Do you know of any recent articles/research that encourages vigorous exercise for ADHD women?
I provided an excellent hyperlink above here is another one

Dealing with PMS.



Quote:
--Have you always been physically active or did you just start recently?
I have always been on the hyperactive side of ADD however with "maturity" I tend to become less and less hyperactive and more and more inattentive -
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Old 07-28-08, 02:06 PM
amiegrace amiegrace is offline
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Re: ADHD Women & Exercise

Exercise is so good in so many ways it's hard to put into words. I got depressed and stopped running a few months ago and my ADD/mood symptoms have been much worse and I can't get motivated. That being said, it's one of the best things ever for just about everything.

Jogging/running seems to work best for me since it's something that offers a good workout in the shortest amount of time, and since I have to get up so early (like 4:45 am) when I'm teaching, I have only about a half hour to squeeze in everything for the day -- when I get home from work I want to spend time with my daughter and can't do two things at once .
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