Exercise Helps Manage ADHD, Depression, Addiction and More!

John Ratey, author of Spark!, has just posted a wonderful new website that explains the science behind why it's so good for people with ADHD (and also people without) to exercise.  He explains in detailed but understandable language how exercise's impact on the brain helps with ADHD, stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, age-related memory loss and more.  Go to his site to understand WHY exercise works and HOW it works for you.  It's pretty cool stuff, and might just inspire you to create not only the right exercise program for your specific needs, but one that you can stick with!  Let me give you just a couple of examples:

ADHD:  Consider taking up a sport that requires balance.  Martial arts, mountain biking, rock climbing, white water rafting are just a few that he suggests.  The science of why this is important has to do with how the attention system is connected in your brain (go read Ratey's explanation about it...)

Improved learning:  Aerobic exercise at 90% of your heart rate will help considerably.  That sounds like a lot, but when you read about the learning achievements that have happened when these sorts of programs have been put into schools you'll want to introduce the idea to your local school district!  But it's not just for kids.  For adults, there is also good evidence that exercise is correlated to cognitive function.

Depression:  Exercise, done right, is as effective as Zoloft at managing depression because exercise releases chemicals in the brain that make you feel better.

Addiction:  You'll have to just read this page for yourself because the way exercise assists in the treatment of addiction is multi-faceted.

The bottom line is this:  If your marriage is in trouble and ADHD is a factor, exercise can really help.  It can even be a fun way to make things better.  So I urge everyone to go and explore Dr. Ratey's new site to learn more and get inspired!


get worrying

Iam young lady of 26 years inlove with a man of 37 years old and he have ADHD for allmost 37 years,we are now 11 months together he love me and i love him and he told me at the beginning about his disease then i could,nt pay attention more because i was not sure if he is right man for me now that we really planning to be together and planning to getting marry am getting worry because,i read and heard that marriage of Adhd partner never last long.He symptoms is not that bad,he only get Depression and could,nt control it and after he regret all he said or he did. he is very polite.Iam getting worry if he will be much worse then now. 

can you help before i decide to get to this guy.

To Lovisa

Lovisa, being a woman with ADD symptoms myself, and of nearly same age as your friend, I would say - you would not regret marrying him, until and unless you are ready enough to 'forgive' - But then this is 'the key' to every successful relationship isn't ? I understand ADDiers or ADHDiers are more impulsive than an average person; but have me they are more-more-less- horrible than your average bloke too - for they are naturally understanding and forgiving ! As long as you two know how to hold dialog, agree to a solutions than picking on each other and happy to help each other to achieve goals as  couple, I can't see any problem - perhaps I think yours will be an 'enlightened marriage' - what more can you ask for in this 'information age' girl :o), All the bestxxx


So if a person with diagnosis of ADD chooses to do nothing  is it a untreated mental illness?
If they can function at a job and in social interactions that they choose is that considered treatment enough?

NOVA1986's picture

To Melly49

Well, if the person doesn't have problems holding a job, no addictions problems, no problems with holding a healthy relationship (no worries or unhealthy stress to his/her partner), no sleeping problems,etc. That person was maybe misdiagnose. Maybe it has just some sort of depression. It is very probable a person can leave happy with ADD and no treatment with enough financial independence, no commitment with a specific partner or at least in a long term of time and with a healthy social interaction (at least healthy for the ADDer). The problem is when the ADDer gets marry and can't hold the pressure of the commitment in any or most of the areas in a marriage. A wife/husband requires attention, respect, consideration, honesty, loyalty, accountability, etc. Children also require all of that and a lot of supervision and discipline. But if a parent with ADD is unable to be part of these normal/basic tasks, the children will suffer and/or the partner have to assume all the responsibilities with out complaining/nagging. I found the financial side of a marriage is vital, and if the ADDer can provide that specific need to his/her family, maybe the non-ADDer can assume the rest and live happily ever after (careless about additions, disloyalty, inaccurate money expending, etc.)

Attend supplement for ADHD

I posted this earlier and it seems to have disappeared. Glitch or not allowed? Was wondering if anyone has experience with this supplement. Lots of good writeups On this product by Vaxa but have not seen it diacussed here. Any thoughts?
NOVA1986's picture

SUPPLEMENTS for lululove

What is the name of he supplements? My husband haven't take any supplements religiously. I bought for him Omega 3 and vitamin B, but he really doesn't take it. My DH is the kind if the "doctor" doesn't prescribe it he will not take it. In Dr. Amen's book Healing ADD, he recommended for 6 different types of ADD. My husband is a very calm ADDer so he doesn't take amphetamines, in the matter of fact amphetamines for him are not good because is high blood pressure.

I just discovered reading in a laboratory web-side (http://www.greatplainslaboratory.com/home/eng/home.asp) , that the over produce of yeast in your intestines block the absorption of nutrients, so this is maybe something all ADDer and non-adders must do, a very detail blood, urine exam looking for level of metals and other substance that avoid the absorption of nutrients necessary for the brain to produce the necessary levels of chemicals for optimist function of the brain.

My DH has  problems to sleep, we are separated right now, but he told me yesterday that Wednesday night he didn't sleep at all, for being afraid of not waking up to go to work, so he was in his office at 7:30 and did some work the boss ask him to do, but he couldn't wake up on Friday, so he missed the entire day of Friday. 

I told him to take Melatonin to help him to regulate his sleep time, but he didn't take the bottle when he moved. And before moving he wasn't willing to take it either.

There are many supplements

There are many supplements out on the market that have been suggested to have beneficial effects on attention, stress, memory etc. Some are marketed specifically for people with AdHd. The one I asked about is a homeopathic supplement offered by a company called Vaxa. They make something called "Attend" and it got some great reviews on Amazon.com. Fish oil is proposed to have memory promoting effects (as well as cardiac protective ones too). Ive taken fish oil myself and though it may be my imagination, it seemed to help with my memory. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in our bodies that is released cyclically in our day to let or bodies wind down for sleep. It can be taken externLly aa a supplement to promote sleep (knocked me out!) but you shoukd NOT take it on a regular basis because it can have the negative effect of lowering your bodies NATURAL release of the same hormone- making your sleep patterns worse than before. Would appreciate any feedback on this "Attend", as well as Extress. Ned Hallowell suggests others too in his delivered from distraction book.
NOVA1986's picture


I heard the first time about this book in a parents meeting at my children's school. The PE chairman mentioned several times during his presentation, so I bought it and showed to my DH but I think he read part of it about 3 times. I love to exercise, I used to go to a gym and I bought a membership for my husband, but I canceled because he was not using it very much, and after seeing him acting unsuitable during one visit together to the gym. Later, I canceled mine, to save the money and I was loosing interest during the most critical depressive time. I also use to be a co-director of a Latin folkloric group, but I also quit because I couldn't tolerate the attraction my DH had for my friend and director of the group. All of these stopping activities that I used to enjoy it makes me feel inaccurate. So for the first time in my life I accept the idea that I can enjoy these things again without including my partner. I can go to night clubs alone and dance by myself or my friends, I can go back to my folkloric dances without sharing with my DH this part of me that is so much fun and important. I also can restart my exercise routine to recover my mental and physical health to get out of my still depress state.

The book and the web-site of the author are wonderful motivators to go back in doing what it is simple, right and tremendously beneficial.

I LOVE Dr. Ratey and his

I LOVE Dr. Ratey and his work! He came to my school last year to present to staff and is so passionate about his topic. I've seen huge benefits from exercise for my ADHD/addicted spouse through regular intensive walking plus yoga (a positive lifestyle change that unfortunately didn't stick *sigh*) but I also know that a brisk walk or bike ride in the great outdoors does wonders for me as well when I'm feeling off-balance, excessively emotional, or overwhelmed by my marriage and the whole situation.

Walking has changed my life...

For the last two years I've been walking between 10 - 20 miles a week. There is a huge difference in how I feel on days that I walk when compared to days I don't. My ADD was not discovered until age 43 and I never exercised regularly and I self-medicated with food. I was over-weight for my entire adult life with the occasional yo-yo diet. At age 43 I was shocked to discover that I weighed 285 lbs and only 5'-10". I have maintained 185 lbs for the last year and controlling my impulsive eating and walking are key. I am getting control of my ADD and everything is improving. I hope it keeps going...





Congratulations- what a positive lifestyle change! I hope my husband will begin to see that he can benefit from a more focused and dedicated change with respect to exercise. He tries but, like everything he does, it waxes and wanes. It's something we sometimes do together (take long walks) when we're stuck and feel like strangers to each other and I recognize that it helps both our brains focus on the present and keeps us more balanced, not to mention being good for our physical health. Yay for walking!