ADD/ADHD and Exercise

colin

Well-known member
Bard from Wales
Pronouns: He/Him
Posts: 162
"Starting again"
This may not be the right place, please move if needed.

I'm interested in any tips or techniques for successfully maintaining an exercise programme with an ADD/ADHD brain.

My own story is: I'm in my early 50s. I've had mental health problems for all my life. Most notably addictions, most durably alcholism (from which I'm now clean - so I just need to sort out the compulsive social media use!) Relatively recently - and to be honest, via that compulsive social media use - I've recognised the way I've always been as an exact match with the descriptions of Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. (I'm in the process of trying to get a diagnosis and maybe treatment.)

This gives me issues with planning, scheduling, getting bored and discouraged easily...

(I wonder if it's indicative that Darebee is the most successful I've ever been in this regard: it's online, it cleverly uses gamification (challenges, programmes, RPG) to make exercise engaging.....)

Any advice would be great. And, if anyone else thinks of themselves as neurodiverse in this way, I'd love to hear from you.
 

Sólveig

Well-known member
Pirate from Cabudare - Venezuela
Pronouns: She/Her
Posts: 1,707
"ᚨ Ars longa, vita brevis"
I actually do have the same issues about matching the descriptions for ADHD (I even made a post in my log about it, and I'm still waiting for my appointment), so here's a few things that helped me out. I guess some you already know, but I'll put them anyway:

  1. Only have one goal in mind. Don't overwhelm with more goals, or instead, you'll end up doing absolutely nothing. You can always break up that goal into a smaller chunk and make it as specific as you can. Right now, I switched my journaling technique into this, and so far it's been working perfectly. I write a goal for the day, and then I put up to two steps to follow, if I must. That's my to-do list.
  2. Make a portable schedule. What I mean by that is that you should be flexible with the time of the day where you workout. I usually do it before sunset, but there are times in which I do it at morning or even before lunch. When I started, I used to do them at night, almost close to bed time. Making a time of the day is a good idea, but don't be too strict with it.
  3. Make yourself accountable. DAREBEE encourages you to log your workout here, on the Hive, but you can also journal on a notebook if you'd like, or have someone constantly nag you about whether you trained or not.
  4. Embrace randomness. This might sound contradictory to my first point, but we do get bored very easily. Don't be afraid of switching training plans, and always choose a different workout on each session, or make your own if you're into that kind of crazyness. You can also skip DAREBEE all together and look for something like a dance workout on Youtube, or even go out and attend to a class. You can also change your working out environment. For instance, instead of training on the living room, train somewhere else, whether it is in your house or outside. Here in my country we do have parks that have some gym equipment, so check that out.
  5. Do the programs and challenges. To support my previous point, you should definitly do the programs and challenges. Many of them have a lot of variety into it, and they last for a month. Also, when you finish them, you also get a nice badge to show off on your profile, so kudos to the wholesome competitivity. The ADHD brain is competitive.
  6. Timed workouts are a good help. Programs like Full Circuit, HIIT and LIIT workouts, they are good because you don't have to count reps, but actually wait for the seconds to go by. This is awesome for the ADHD brain because it is similar to the use of the Pomodoro technique. If you think about it, HIIT is pretty much the Pomodoro of exercises. DAREBEE HIIT workouts usually lasts up to 30 to 45 minutes at Diff. LVL III, depending whether you're going for full rest or EC. On lower difficulties is shorter. Full Circuit lasts for 21 minutes each day, with exceptions for days where it lasts 10 minutes IIRC.
  7. Have fun. It is important to have fun with training, and this is where stuff like the DAREdice or the RPG programs come into place. You can also make your own games with workouts through the use of dice and cards. I'm actually using dice to set the time for my Pomodoro timer whenever I work. I just roll 1D4, multiply the result by 10, and I have the amount of minutes I have before taking a break. I used to work for 20 minutes and rest for 40 minutes several times in university, and I actually progressed much more in 20 minutes of work than 40 minutes of work.

YMMV, so don't be afraid to experiment. In fact, you should experiment. Things will only work temporarily, so you'll always have to rework your system. If social media is distracting you, get rid of your phone when you are going to work out, and remember it'll be for as long as you'll be working out. Printing the workouts or writing them up on paper might also be a good idea. Whenever I went outside to train, I had a few index cards with my training plan, and in it, it was the workout on written form. Remember: embrace the chaos. Don't let it dominate you.
 

jma

Member
Mother of Dragons Pronouns: she/her
Posts: 17
I also am looking into getting tested as a lot of my family have ADHD and I finally have the time to go to the doctors. For getting bored I try to multi-task when I work out. I'll throw on a podcast or a TV show to hold my attention, especially for walks outside or on the treadmill.
I also use apps to help motivate me, like I play Pokemon Go so sometimes I just walk the half mile to the local park to play. Or I have apps that give me rewards for more steps so that helps me or like those Fitbit competitions against friends.
I've also found focusing on a goal for one week at a time helps me. 30 days doesn't seem like a lot to me at first but I often get distracted and bored a week or 2 in. So some weeks it's more steps, others it's dedicated workouts. It takes some trial and error but keeping things new and exciting helps me a lot.
 

colin

Well-known member
Bard from Wales
Pronouns: He/Him
Posts: 162
"Starting again"
Thank you @PetiteSheWolf!

Thank you @Sólveig - I really appreciate your long, thoughtful post. I have printed it out. This is great advice I think. THank you.

@jma. Thank you for your advice, which I'm going to take on board soon. I wish you luck with your diagnosis process.

I'm sorry that I didn't know how to watch this thread when I posted it or I would have been back sooner. . .

:)
 

legolo

Well-known member
Mercenary from Germany
Pronouns: He
Posts: 228
"I am the one thing in life I can control"
Good to see other neurally challenged bees here :)

First of, congrats on getting sober @colin . As someone who´s suffering of several addictions (most notably gaming/media usage) I know how hard beating that can be.

In addition to @Sólveig-s steps (I´ll definitely try those for myself), back when I was actually able to work out, I used to print the program I was doing and stick it to the inside of my bedroom door like a calendar. That way it would always be in sight and I could rip the page I did off, very rewarding. And I used to set me an alarm to always do my workouts at the same time, or I´d forget it during my distractions.
 

colin

Well-known member
Bard from Wales
Pronouns: He/Him
Posts: 162
"Starting again"
Thank you @legolo! You can do it! I used an app called Sober Time to help with Twitter addiction and it was useful.

I use pieces of paper when I can too.

It's nice to meet you all.
 

Lindsey

New member
Posts: 1
Congrats on getting sober.

Darebee has been great for me since I don't feel like I have to stick with a program in order to maintain consistency, or get discouraged and derailed when I can't stick with the program. I just do some workout every day.

I find that I struggle to maintain focus through a longer workout, and I also find it challenging to follow time guidelines, occasionally even with the (sometimes helpful) timers. I like the strength training workouts that build in longer (2 min) breaks after sets. I focus 100% on a set (good form, good effort), complete it, set the 2 minute timer, do some other task I have to do to maintain my life until the timer goes off (load the dishwasher, feed the cat), and then come back and do another full-attention set. It takes me 60-90 minutes to complete a workout this way, and I know a lot of people will find it too chaotic, but it works for me to consistently work out while like, also having a cared-for pet and a clean enough kitchen.
 

AgentDragon

Member
Bard from Maryland
Pronouns: they/them
Posts: 23
"I just needed to get that off my chest"
I saw this thread a few days ago and have since been wanting to throw in my two cents, as I also have ADHD (I was diagnosed at age ten or eleven; I can't remember precisely). Issue is, I didn't have any cents to throw in, since I too struggle with sticking to an exercise regimen.

Then, today, I recalled a study I read about a few years ago. Specifically, this one from 2004. Its objective was stated as follows:

We examined the impact of relatively “green” or natural settings on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms across diverse subpopulations of children.

Basically, the goal was to determine if spending time in natural (or "green") settings could relieve children's ADHD symptoms. And... well, it did! I'm not a scientist in any regard, so I find a lot of the explanation of their methods a little tricky to follow (which is probably exacerbated by my own inattentiveness, haha). So I'll save you some time and frustration by sharing this brief summary of the findings, as phrased in this Psychology Today article:

The conclusion reached here was that green outdoor settings improve ADHD symptoms in children regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, or living environment (rural, urban, etc.) This held true even when the type of activity was matched across different settings. In other words, the benefits seen with green settings were not solely due to the type of activities that being outdoors allows (freedom of movement, burning off hyperactivity, dynamic stimulation, etc.)—but were due to the green setting itself.

This is far from the only study that examines the impact of "green time" on ADHD, as you'll see if you click the above Psychology Today hyperlink. And the evidence suggests that it's about much more than simply "getting your energy out"—the environment itself appears to affect ADHD symptoms. Admittedly, there hasn't been as much research done on adults with ADHD, but it's definitely worth trying. Here's an interview with one of the researchers, if you're interested in learning more about it.

Okay, okay, I'm rambling. Here's my point: Since ADHD can make it hard to focus on things like form and rep counting, moving your workouts to a natural outdoor space (like a park or a spot just off the side of a nature trail) might make that easier! And if working out outdoors or in public doesn't suit your fancy, you could instead try taking a brief nature walk before going home and doing your workout there.

Again, I literally just had this idea today, so I haven't attempted to implement it yet. But I'm going to give it a shot, and I would like to encourage you to do so as well! Good luck to us all!
 

KennethNunez

New member
Posts: 1
I'd recommend starting small and gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your workouts. Breaking down your exercise routine into manageable tasks can help with planning and scheduling. And don't be too hard on yourself if you get bored or discouraged. Just remind yourself of the progress you've made and the benefits of staying active. Oh, and speaking of resources, if you're looking for more information on mental health, you might want to check it out. They have some really valuable articles and tips that could be helpful. By the way, if there are any other neurodiverse individuals on this forum who can share their experiences and offer advice, I'm sure they'd be happy to chime in. We're all here to support each other.
 
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jcm214

New member
Posts: 3
This may not be the right place, please move if needed.

I'm interested in any tips or techniques for successfully maintaining an exercise programme with an ADD/ADHD brain.

My own story is: I'm in my early 50s. I've had mental health problems for all my life. Most notably addictions, most durably alcholism (from which I'm now clean - so I just need to sort out the compulsive social media use!) Relatively recently - and to be honest, via that compulsive social media use - I've recognised the way I've always been as an exact match with the descriptions of Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. (I'm in the process of trying to get a diagnosis and maybe treatment.)

This gives me issues with planning, scheduling, getting bored and discouraged easily...

(I wonder if it's indicative that Darebee is the most successful I've ever been in this regard: it's online, it cleverly uses gamification (challenges, programmes, RPG) to make exercise engaging.....)

Any advice would be great. And, if anyone else thinks of themselves as neurodiverse in this way, I'd love to hear from you.
I wish I had tips. I'm diagnosed inattentive ADHD and it's pretty bad, even with meds. I tend to get bored/distracted/determine to find something "better" that I'll actually finish right around the 3 week mark.
If you find something I would love to know
 

gerbil

Member
Assassin from winterset iawa
Posts: 18
"if it doesn't challenge you it doesn't change you"
I wish I had tips. I'm diagnosed inattentive ADHD and it's pretty bad, even with meds. I tend to get bored/distracted/determine to find something "better" that I'll actually finish right around the 3 week mark.
If you find something I would love to know
try your favorite music or watch tv while doing it
 

colin

Well-known member
Bard from Wales
Pronouns: He/Him
Posts: 162
"Starting again"
I wish I had tips. I'm diagnosed inattentive ADHD and it's pretty bad, even with meds. I tend to get bored/distracted/determine to find something "better" that I'll actually finish right around the 3 week mark.
If you find something I would love to know
I think there's some good advice in this thread, jcm. I hope you find a way.

I do find that the more I exercise the better I am able to cope with my ADD. I started looking for a diagnoses (I had a medical interview today) after talking to a friend of my partner who has recently been diagnosed around the same age as me. She's a yoga teacher, and in her diagnosis they told her the amount of physical activity she did was probably a form of self medication.

I have my struggles with sticking with things. I have found it helpful to understand that this has a cause and to be more forgiving with myself when I do miss things or fall of programmes.

I just do what I can and know that it is doing me good.

It's not really that great, but I find variety is major. So, I've ended up doing quite a lot of stuff on YouTube, and some of those programmes are really varied. I do one of Darebee's training plan as a broad pattern - I do the Fighter Plan, which is combat, HIIT, full body strength, combat, so lots of potential for variety - and then I've found HIIT workouts on YouTube and they have a great deal of variety to them, to the extent that quite a few of them are advertised or can be found by searching for "no repetition". Fitness KayKay is the person I've found who's best suited to my level, but there are lots and lots of these instructors on YouTube.

I do Yoga every day too. I think that's been the form of exercise that I've been able to sustain with the most success and I think it's because it's taught, with a spoken, video lesson, and every session is different in some way.

I hope something works for you JCM.
 

Lilu

Well-known member
Mother of Dragons from Armavir, Russian
Posts: 76
Поздравляю с трезвостью.

Darebee мне очень помог, так как я не чувствую, что должен придерживаться программы, чтобы поддерживать последовательность, или разочаровываться и сходить с рельсов, когда я не могу придерживаться программы. Я просто тренируюсь каждый день.

Я обнаружил, что мне трудно сохранять концентрацию во время длительной тренировки, и мне также сложно следовать рекомендациям по времени, иногда даже с (иногда полезными) таймерами. Мне нравятся силовые тренировки, в которых после подходов предусмотрены более длительные (2 минуты) перерывы. Я сосредотачиваюсь на 100% на наборе (хорошая форма, хорошие усилия), завершаю его, ставлю таймер на 2 минуты, делаю какое-то другое задание, которое мне нужно выполнить, чтобы поддерживать свою жизнь, пока таймер не сработает (загружаю посудомоечную машину, кормлю кошку). , а затем вернитесь и выполните еще один подход с полным вниманием. На тренировку таким образом у меня уходит 60–90 минут, и я знаю, что многим людям это покажется слишком хаотичным, но для меня полезно постоянно тренироваться, при этом имея при этом заботливое домашнее животное и достаточно чистое помещение. кухня.
Oh my gosh, I do that too. I'm glad there are people like me. I have restless hand syndrome. I constantly need to do something, keep myself busy. I use two minutes of rest between sets to do household chores. This is how I train and do my routine tasks with great enthusiasm.
 
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