ADHD, Depression and the Exercise Cure

Fitness trainer, Susan Reeds shares how exercise helps with depression. Take a look:
“I live with depression. It runs in my family. Though they would never admit it, my mother, grandmother, and untold generations before us have had it, wound intricately into our DNA like blue eyes and incorrigibility. The problem is that I grew up with the mistaken belief that depression was less a disease than a moral and spiritual failing. And so I hid it, like so many parts of my personality. I coped, laughed it off, and tried to be a good, moral person. I’m sure you know how that works out. Stuffing something down always forces it to the surface in unfortunate and public places. It made me sick and overweight.
At times I have used medications to break through the cloud of sadness and despair. Since I discovered fitness, I have managed it with a regular routine of almost daily exercise. Dozens of scientific studies concur: exercise releases endorphins, promotes better circulation and muscle tone, improves sleep and self-esteem, and is an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression. Often people with ADHD suffer from depression because of the contact frustration of having to work harder to function in their daily lives. Often people with ADHD are misdiagnosed with depression first. Rather than treat the depression, many experts believe that helping the person with ADHD can alleviate symptoms of depression. Exercise has also been shown to be incredibly effective in treating ADHD by raising the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which help with cognitive function. Activities like hiking and trail running, mountain biking and martial arts stimulate the brain/body connection, improve balance, and keep the brain continually engaged. I’ve experienced first-hand how a regular fitness routine has helped boost my mood and settle my brain. I also use other tools for helping my brain reboot – healthy diet, rest, acupuncture, a certain level of order in my physical universe, spending time with loved ones, my quirky sense of humor.
The journey we are on, as individuals and as a community is not the road to “perfection” but becoming more whole and balanced, more of who we are supposed to be. I struggle, just as you do, to find balance, find a way around obstacles, break through barriers, and in the end, become more of the human I am meant to be.”

Susan Reed is a personal trainer, certified through the American Council on Exercise (A.C.E.). She has been training groups and individuals since 2003. Her website is UrbanAgility.com.

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