There are so many benefits of exercise: it can reduce our risks of some cancers, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, oestoarthritis, depression, dementia etc; but it also has a particular benefit to ADHD, in that exercise increases dopamine levels – something that all ADHDers are deficient in.

Exercise is often referred to as ‘nature’s antidepressent’ because “physical activity stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These brain chemicals play an important part in regulating your mood. For example, regular exercise can positively impact serotonin levels in your brain. Raising your levels of serotonin boosts your mood and overall sense of well-being. It can also help improve your appetite and sleep cycles, which are often negatively affected by depression. Regular exercise also helps balance your body’s level of stress hormones, such as adrenaline.” –

Depression, anxiety, eating disorders and sleep problems are all widely associated with ADHD. So we can see how the benefits of exercise could be far reaching. In addition to this, exercise has also been shown to improve executive function, attention, and symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity – all areas where people with ADHD face many difficulties.



Dr John Ratey is an ADHDer, a psychiatrist and an author of many books including Driven to Distraction and ADHD 2.0SPARK is his book about the effects of exercise on your brain.

“This new scientific revolution will teach you how to boost brain cells, protect yourself against mental illness and dementia, and ensure success in exams and the workplace.”