Monday, January 12, 2015

My Brain on Running

Running makes me feel healthier both physically and mentally. When I run, my body feels strong and capable. That post-run high comes not only from brain chemistry, it also comes from knowing what my body has accomplished!

wearing a lot of pink helps too

Of course, running is just as much a mental exercise as it is physical. Runners know the mental game you sometimes have to play to get yourself through a workout- I'm queen of "run this speed until the end of this song, then you can slow down" or "make it to the first mile and if you feel like stopping you can". But running helps my mind in a different way. Exercise- especially running- makes my ADHD brain feel calm and focused. In fact, I've found it's just as effective as meds, with far better side effects. I definitely noticed the difference when I couldn't run for 4 months!

I was diagnosed with ADHD (Inattentive type) as an adult, mostly because I noticed lots of similarities between my son and I (he was diagnosed at 6 years old) that went beyond parental influence. When I brought my old report cards into the psychiatrist (in addition to discussing my current symptoms), it didn't take her long to find the hallmarks of ADHD; "excessive talking" and "does not work up to full potential" littered my records, from elementary through high school. I started taking Ritalin after my diagnosis (later making the switch to Concerta). The difference was insane.

my brain on ADHD meds
When I started working out, I noticed that even if I forgot to take meds, I was still able to focus and be efficient. And I didn't act like a super mellow, toned version of myself (which consistently weirded my husband out).

Don't worry, not everyone becomes a Squidward when they take ADHD meds

At this point, I've figured out strategies that work for me in addition to exercise. I will do a more detailed post on that at some point. I've found that simply having the diagnosis helps tremendously!

Anyone out there with ADHD or parenting a child with ADHD (or both)?
What have you found that's helped?

 ***Obviously I am not a medical professional and what works for me may not work for you. Always discuss any plans with your doctor before making changes***

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