ADDed Dimensions
Home  »  Solutions & Treatment  »  Exercise

EXERCISE

Consistent and vigorous exercise provides a myriad of benefits, especially for the person with ADD/ADHD. John Ratey, M.D., and Edward Hallowell, M.D., the authors of Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood through Adulthood, speculated that if a person with ADD/ADHD were able to exercise vigorously several times a day, medication might not be needed.

Exercise juices the brain with the blood nutrient glucose, which counteracts the absorption rate deficiency shown in brain imaging studies of people with ADD/ADHD. Lowered levels of dopamine and serotonin are associated with ADD/ADHD; exercise boosts production of these neurotransmitters, as well as endorphins, the brain chemical noted for producing the "runner's high."

Research has documented that people with ADD/ADHD have below-normal levels of blood flow and electrical activity in the frontal areas of the brain, which govern focus and concentration. Exercise increases blood flow by augmenting the number and density of blood vessels in these areas.

Additional benefits: exercise increases self-esteem and alleviates mild-to-moderate depression.

Researchers suggest an exercise regimen of 30-40 minutes per day, 4-5 times per week.