On-Demand Webinars

Free Webinar Replay: The Exercise Rx for ADHD: How Movement Improves Attention, Working Memory, and Executive Functions

In this hour long webinar on-demand, learn about the effect of exercise on ADHD with John J. Ratey, M.D.

Powerful evidence shows that exercise helps children and adults manage their symptoms of ADHD. Movement turns on the brain’s attention networks and eases other symptoms of ADHD, such as hyperactivity. In short, physical activity benefits the ADHD brain by elevating levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, two chemicals linked to attention.

A steady diet of movement and vigorous play also has a positive effect on behavior and motivation, resulting in better school performance and better self-esteem. What’s more, studies suggest that exercise can reduce addictive behaviors — from excessive screen time to vaping and marijuana use. Overall, physical activity is a go-to treatment that parents and adults can use to better their lives with ADHD.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • Why exercise and play have such a powerful effect on the brain in general and attention in particular
  • The latest research on how physical activity helps improve ADHD symptoms
  • How exercise acts like a stimulant medication to increase neurotransmitter levels
  • Case studies of how exercise improves learning and motivation
  • Exercise routines that are especially effective for patients diagnosed with ADHD

Webinar replays include:

  • Slides accompanying the webinar
  • Related resources from ADDitude
  • Free newsletter updates about ADHD

Meet the Expert Speaker:

John J. Ratey, M.D., is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an in internationally recognized expert in neuropsychiatry. He has published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles and 11 books, including the groundbreaking Driven to Distraction series with Ned Hallowell, M.D. With the publication of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Dr. Ratey has established himself as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the brain-fitness connection.

John Ratey, M.D., is a member of the ADDitude ADHD Specialist Panel.


Webinar Sponsor

The sponsor of this week’s ADDitude webinar is….

Play Attention: Exercise for the mind! Play Attention is the most comprehensive neurocognitive training program available designed to strengthen Executive Function and Self-Regulation. But technology by itself is not enough. The mind also grows with exercise, coaching/counseling, good nutrition, mindfulness, behavior shaping, and parent training. These are all components of the Play Attention system. Call 800-788-6786 and learn how we can customize Play Attention for you. | www.playattention.com | Request a Free Professional Consultation

Mention code #AdditudeMag0219 and receive $200 off your purchase + our Mindfulness App for FREE

ADDitude webinar sponsors have no role in the selection of guest speakers, the speaker’s presentation, or any other aspect of the webinar production.

12 Related Links

  1. Is brief exercise worth it? Background I struggle with Adult ADD and depression. Unfortunately, I don’t use my gym membership frequently. However I have found that doing jumping jacks for as little as a minute improves my immediate focus and motivation. I’ve heard from a few doctors that to benefit from exercise you need at least a half hour. So, if I don’t have time, is it worth it?

    1. Coming from those doctors’ point of view, they’re looking at that 30 min recommendation for cardiovascular health, prevention of obesity, diabetes, cancer, etc. not brain health or your specific need for help with ADHD. Besides, they are just going off rote recommendations. You yourself see the benefits of just short bursts of exercise. 30 minutes would give you even more improvement. You don’t even have to do it all at once. You can break it up into sessions of 5-10 minutes when you have time and still see improvement. And if you can’t get to the gym, do your calisthenics, try fast walking, etc. btw, heavy exercise, long periods (hours at a time, 7 days a week) can actually be counterproductive physically, it might be bad brain-wise as well.

  2. I’ve noticed the enormous benefits of exercise on ADHD symptoms but am looking forward to learning from you why this seems to be so beneficial.
    Here’s my question: my spouse struggles my giving 30 to 60 minutes of a busy day to exercise. She consistently asks if I can just do chores around the house more vigorously, but when I try this, I don’t see any benefit on my ADHD symptoms. Is there any way to find the win/win and get exercise without actually giving time to exercise (e.g. some sort of housework)?

    1. Would it be possible to wake up early and knock out the 30 minutes before she is up. You could probably also sneak in another 15-20 minutes later that day. I have not found a happy medium with housework. I find that I need to do my chores little by little.

    2. I’m wondering whether this is less about exercise and more whether your wife finds herself overwhelmed with everything she feels that needs to get done and resents you taking 30 – 60 minutes a day for yourself when she feels that she can’t have that for herself. Maybe you could have a conversation with her about how she feels about her responsibilities and how the two of you can support each other.

      You probably can’t get in real exercise doing house chores unless it’s shoveling snow or mowing the grass with an old-fashioned push mower but maybe you could mutually find time for yourselves to do what you each need to do without feeling overwhelmed and resentful.

  3. As an athlete with ADHD, I’m curious about the effects of stimulant medication on the central nervous system when combined with high intensity, high volume exercise.
    Specifically, can using stimulant medication while doing this form of exercise put an athlete at a higher risk of CNS overstimulation and overtraining? Would reducing the dose help to prevent this and still be effective at treating ADHD symptoms?
    In an instance of CNS overstimulation/overtraining, (and just plain training, really) does use of ADHD stimulant medication hinder/prolong CNS recovery and recovery from exercise in general?
    Thanks.

  4. I have ADHD but I also have chronic fatigue syndrome and it’s impossible for me to do the recommended exercise guidelines. Even half an hour a day of gentle walking (2×15 minutes periods) wipes me out. The PACE study guidelines are a fantasy.
    How can I get the exercise benefits without making myself sick by over-doing it?

  5. I would not consider myself an athlete, but I try to be regular with my exercise and strive for gradual improvement over time. My workouts range from moderate to intense. I lost 30 pounds with a combo of good exercise and healthy eating, and I would like to lose a little more weight and keep increasing my fitness level and strength. I have been reluctant to go on medication for a few reasons.
    —My children on stimulants have struggled with appetite suppression. I don’t want to not be able to eat sufficiently to fuel my body for workouts or to replace crucial nutrients following workouts. I also know that insufficient eating can lead to starvation mode, which is also not good. I value good fitness results because they allow me to be more active and able to participate in activities and better take care of my family. I want to maintain good health and activity as I age. I also like the feeling of accomplishment. 🙂
    —I am worried about doing intense exercise while on a stimulant. Could this potentially do damage to my heart or other parts of my body?
    —I can’t workout first thing in the morning, even though I’d like to. We are in that stage of child rearing where teenagers work and come home late and we have to get up early to get kids off to school in batches. Between barely getting enough sleep (or sometimes not 😉 ) and ensuring Dad gets to work early and kids get to school, I am left with a mid-morning workout time. I find that exercise improves my brain function quite a bit, but it doesn’t last as long as a medication would, and after ovulation (sorry for TMI) and leading up to my period, it tends to help less with brain issues. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on taking meds before exercising vs taking them after (I am worried I’d be up all night if I took meds later in the day—like around lunchtime—rather than first thing) and making this whole thing work for me. It’s not going to last forever—kids grow up so fast!—but this is my now and I want to do the best I can right now. I’ve wasted so many years not knowing there was help available for me. Thanks in advance!

  6. As a seasoned educator I am glad to see ADD information in the forefront offering alternative “treatments” in place of meds. Get the kids dancing!!

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