ADHD

Experimenting with ADHD-specific exercise

When it comes to exercise and writing and, well, everything else, I am trying not to let thinking get in the way of doing but it is a real struggle.

I know that everyone struggles with this from time to time but for those of us with ADHD it is very much a default mode in our brains.

Our busy minds can cough up all kinds of reasons why now is not the right time to do the thing we have planned and those reasons are VERY convincing.

If I am trying to get something done, I have to work hard to recognize/remember that there won’t actually be a time when I will be more motivated/find it easier/magically have more skills or time. And there probably won’t be an ideally logical time to do it. And I probably don’t need more information before getting started. And if my challenges right now are internal, they will probably be there later, too.

So, it’s not just about me deciding to when to do something and then jumping up to do it when that time comes – it’s also about fending off all kinds of reasonable-sounding objections, over and over.

On Friday past, at the end of a very frustrating week of trying to make my brain go (some weeks are far worse than others), I started reading Your Brain Is Not Broken by Tamara Rosier and I immediately thought ‘Oh, once I am finished this, I’ll be able to make a good plan to get things done.’

That thought was followed by, ‘You have thought this before.’

In fact, that train of thought is of the most stereotypical ADHD things I could have done at that moment. But instead of being hard on myself about a recurring thought pattern, I decided that recognizing the pattern was an important step. And the fact that I could 1) create a space between the first thought and the second and 2) decide not to judge myself for it means that my meds are working well AND the efforts I have put in to help myself deal with my ADHD are paying off.

So, after that victory, I decided that I would keep reading the book (it is SO HELPFUL) and I would take immediate action on something.

I was feeling a bit bleh after a week of ADHD battles* so I chose to get my body moving instead of trying to push my brain around.

First, I just put on some music and flailed around a bit – some dancing, some bodyweight exercises, bits and pieces of TKD patterns. My brain protested that it was probably a waste of time to do so much movement without a plan because it wouldn’t add up to anything and I would have moved around for nothing (See what I have to put up with? I know it is nonsense but my brain persists.) but I kept doing it anything.

Then, I felt the need for something a bit slower and more focused so I searched YouTube for ADHD yoga and found this video from Yoga with Zelinda.

An embedded video of Yoga for People with ADHD from the Yoga with Zelinda YouTube channel. Still image is in the middle, the left side has ADHD written in black and the right side is a pink toned image of the instructor wearing black leggings and a black tshirt standing with her legs apart twisting the her left arm toward the ceiling while her right hand reaches for her left shin.

The video moved more slowly than the usual Yoga videos I practice with but I really liked her instructions and her choice of movements. If you had asked me beforehand, I would have said that a slower practice would be annoying for my brain but that wasn’t the case at all.

I enjoyed the practice and I felt really good afterwards.

And now, I am on a mission to experiment with ADHD-specific exercises.

I know that martial arts are good for ADHD – TKD can keep my brain and my body busy at once – but I am intrigued to figure out if it is easier for me to convince myself to exercise with videos designed for brains like mine.

If you have ADHD, do you do ADHD-specific exercise videos? Which ones?

If you don’t have ADHD, do you do videos specifically designed for how your brain or body works? Which ones? How did you find them?

*I usually describe it as feeling like my brain is a drawer that is off its runner. It still works ok but even simple actions are waaaaaaay harder than they have to be.

5 thoughts on “Experimenting with ADHD-specific exercise

  1. Your post made me smile. Yoga is the only time I start to think I might have ADD! Maybe I need this yoga class too.

  2. This is fascinating and SO HELPFUL. I’ve really struggled to do video based workouts thanks to my ADHD, and I’d love to know what you find out for other activities that actually work with our brains.

  3. Love the yoga video, and thanks for pointing out some ways in which ADHD can derail movement plans. Luckily we have some tools, which you also brought!

  4. I learned to move with adhd. Following the cues it gives me this means sometimes i need exercise that is exciting, other times i need something I can do while watching a movie, or yet other it means I need something calm and focused. From a menu of options I pick what works for me at that particular time.
    I have class cards to two different studios and tons of equipment at home.
    I stopped feeling guilty for this. my health is essential so I can continue doing all the things my family needs me to do.

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