Research has long shown that exercise and physical activity have a strong positive impact on the brain and for areas related to ADHD. Exercise boosts executive function, attention and working memory. So what is it that keeps us from regular exercise? It is getting organized and creating better habits to incorporate exercise and movement into our daily lives. Creating new habits can be daunting. The consistency of habits are the most difficult. Think of all the ways to incorporate exercise that can engage you in multiple positive ways. Check out these many ways to incorporate exercise habits.
Use transition time for self care
Early in the day or early evening can be good times for self care. These are when other transitions occur, such as dropping off kids at school or coming home from work. Use this existing transition as a time for exercise.
Creating rules that reinforce goals
You can start exercising with small changes to what you already do. Make rules that enforce your commitment. These rules can be park farther away from the store to walk a longer distance when shopping. Take the stairs when possible instead of an elevator. Walk to the farther bathroom in your home and office. Any of these strategies accomplish the goal of walking more steps in a day.
Track your success
Our devices have built in trackers for us to acknowledge our success. You can see how many steps you walk in a day on any of these devices. Make it a goal to walk 10k a day from just your usual activities. Look each evening at your step count before you place your devices in the common charging area. Aim to improve rather than set a lofty goal.
Make it fun
Have you longed to go kayaking or play pickleball? Start a new exercise routine that includes competitive sports or games. This is especially valuable for brain health as you are learning a new skill and physical activity.
Work out as a family, join a Pilates class, or join a fitness group. There are many ways that people are partnering to get more exercise and create connections. As hybrid work continues, there are exercises groups continuing that started during the pandemic.
Start or continue with a challenging sport
Technically difficult sports have technical movements that include an array of brain areas that control balance, timing, sequencing, and concentration. These sports include ballet, martial arts, white water rafting, and gymnastics. As an athlete of a challenging sport, you are both overcoming symptoms of ADHD and building coordination.
Mix it up
Make exercise more engaging by having a variety of options. If you belong to a YMCA, you can try a variety of classes. At home you can play basketball or football with your kids, take a walk with your partner, or have a family dance party. Variety keeps you going, especially if you decide you are tired of one type of exercise.
Make the commitment
The moment you realize that you are missing something in your day, you know you are committed to exercise. It’s a game changer for how you feel about your work and your day.
Remember its good to experiment
Looking at a variety of options helps you commit to exercise. The habit you are building is the habit of lifetime exercise rather than the rote activity. It’s not that you must be perfect at the routine, you are aiming for small daily commitment to exercise.
What is my exercise strategy? I love my weekly Pilates and my class, as well as my daily walks listening to podcasts. On weekends I hop on my bike with my husband and check out the greenbelts in my neighborhood. When you look forward to this self care time, you love to exercise and work hard to never miss a day.