The Return of the ADHD Review

I came across a podcast I just had to listen to because it was about the relationship between exercise and the brain, exercise as treatment for ADHD.  I have had an ongoing series in this blog about wellness and the struggle to maintain fitness and I try to throw in there from time to time how my mental health is affected.

Justine Ruotolo talks with Dr John Ratey about exercise and how it improves the Neuroplasticity  of our minds.  Justine and Dr. Ratey talk about rigorous exercise of the body as well as meditation (exercise of the mind) and how our brain is similar to a muscle.  Activities such as dance, martial arts, gymnastics, soccer… exercise that requires constant change of position, all help with brain health.  Dr. Ratey starts by talking about a patient he had in 1981 who had been a marathon runner.  The runner suffered an injury and subsequent depression, and began exhibiting signs of ADD.  His whole life he had essentially been self medicating with exercise.  They also talk about exercise to manage behavior in children by activating their brains instead of putting them on time out.  Exercise is great for all ages and for many disorders or dysfunctions, exercise could help with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

 

Treating with exercise is what I want to do. Exercise increases receptors of dopamine and norepinephrine, and is good for all of us, not just for treating mental of physical illness but for applying our brain and body the way they are designed to be used.  Too easily we get sucked into other dopamine triggers like video games, alcohol, etc., which can damage our brains instead of strengthen them.  Exercise is great for treating aggression, depression, self discipline, self respect, as well as developing our neuroplasticity.

If you want to listen to the podcast, you can find it here.  For more about Justine Ruotolo, click here.

Recommended reading related to this topic:

Spark

 

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Wellness Wagon: week 31

31 weeks cigarette free.  Starting to slim down again, and I’ve cut back on junk food and alcohol.  Let’s see if I can’t get to my goals before the Wellness Wagon one year mark!

  • Drop weight down to 180 from 216
  • Register for tough mudder and 10k
  • Continue to be cigarette free
  • Develop a more consistent dietary plan

I have until June to get it together! My biggest obstacle is my own attitude.  I have had a lot of “I can’t” going on, and i haven’t had the energy or motivation get more exercise and make better food.

Wellness wagon: week 29.5

I’m finally starting to come out of my holiday slump. I had the day off today, so I went for a run this morning and finally took down my Christmas tree.  It’s only been up for 3 months…

I am heavier now than I was this time last year but it is already starting to come off again. I am still cigarette free.  Maybe this is the start of my tough mudder/ 13.1 training?

I just have to say that getting off my ass and getting stuff done today felt good.  I cleaned a bit, ran some errands, took down the Christmas tree, finished packing my Christmas package to my mom,  ran, played some video games, and right now I’m baking sriracha bacon tuna balls.  After that it’s swai filets in cream of mushroom sauce that’s goin in the oven for dinner, and while that’s being eaten, an apple crisp will go in for dessert.  

It’s been a good day.

Wellness Wagon: week 27

I want to start with an apology.  I’ve always had the mentality that you’re only hurting yourself when you stop taking care of yourself.  But honestly, why start a blog and make promises to your readers if you’re not going to stick to your guns and set a good example.  The simple answer is that my blog is honest. It’s real.  I am not perfect and I’m going to slip up.  That’s still no excuse for letting it happen, and it’s time pick pick ourselves back up and shake this grief and self loathing.

This week I began the climb back on the wagon. I ran a mile Friday morning and felt pretty good, so next week I want to hit the ground running.  I have started thinking about the races I want to get into.  I want to try to get into a 10 mile or half marathon by the end of 2017.  Tough Mudder.
Without regular exercise, the only dopamine triggers I have are food and alcohol. My intake of junk food this time of year is extremely unhealthy.  As my body gets heavier and my organs are abused, i go into a depression.  I get down on myself about my choices, but when the opportunity comes to be active, I can’t push myself to do the right thing.  Then I feel bad about that! The cycle continues until I snap or when my breathing becomes difficult and my pants don’t fit anymore.  That is where I am now. It is hard to breath.  I don’t sleep well. I feel like crap about myself.  If this sounds familiar, that’s because this happens to many, many people this time of year.  We let ourselves down when we let ourselves go.  It’s time to push past that.  

I am still kind of down about everything so I don’t really know what else to say at this point, but just know that I am trying to claw my way out of the hole I’ve dug and maybe next week’s post will have a lighter note.

Wellness wagon: falling off

Week 25ish.  I am still cigarette free.  Otherwise I’m not doing so well.  I know, I know.  How am I supposed to motivate and inspire…? Tell me about it.  I’m at a point where that’s going to be tough.  So many people with and without ADHD experience seasonal depression.  I haven’t been diagnosed with it, myself,but I wouldn’t be surprised.  

I know that if I go out and run a couple miles every morning.  I even tell myself this all day every day.  To those people who say to me “Andrew, you don’t understand. It’s not that easy,”  I say to you “I do understand. I haven’t run more than 1 day per week for almost 2 months. In fact I’ve gone several weeks at a time without a single run.”  That doesn’t make it any less true that a run will make me feel better.  

So right now I’m drinking and eating my way through the winter blahs along with so many people; feeling like crappy about it, and knowing that I can escape the fog anytime with healthy food anytime and exercise, yet no motivation to do either.

Wellness Wagon: Week… 23.5?

This week’s theme is all about the New Years Resolution.

but first…

All those people out there who say things like “I lost 600 pounds in a week!  If I can do it, you can too!”  It’s no wonder this process is so depressing for so many people.  The real world isn’t that simple.

It’s been two and a half weeks since my last post because I have been feeling pretty worthless.  I can’t even say that nothing I’m trying is working.  just about everything I try works, when I keep trying.  So my first New Year’s resolution is to keep trying.  Boom.  Done.  Res 1 established.

 

But wait, there’s more!  I imagine this will get people thinking about creating a resolution of their own, around getting healthy or healthier.  I challenge you to take it one step further.  I am going to start pursuing my health resolution tomorrow.

That’s right.  Tomorrow.

 

I challenge you to set your New Year’s Health Resolution NOW.

Then, Start it right away.  Do not let up until Jan 1.  Then we will be well under way.  Keep a journal or a tally. It’s been 1 day, 2 days, 3 days since I let Depression keep me from exercising.  It’s been 6 weeks since I downed a bag of Cheetos.

I am starting tomorrow.  Start with me.  Comment below when you start.  Regardless of when you read this, start tomorrow. Comment weekly, monthly. Comment here, comment on my Facebook page when I share blog posts.  The more comments I see, the more I’ll be motivated, and the more I can motivate you.  Let’s do this together.  I’m going to feel like crap when I roll out of bed tomorrow morning, but I will not let that stop me.

Start your 2017 goals now.

 

Wellness Wagon: Week 20

Monday.  The most productive day of my week, except when it comes to running.  I’m still recovering from being sick, and this morning’s run didn’t happen.  I set all my clothes out last night, I went to bed thinking about how nice it will be to get a run in at the beginning of my day and be balanced and focused.  But this morning, my body had different plans

I went to bed at a decent time, got 7 hours of sleep, but when that alarm went off at 4, I felt like I had been hit by a truck.  I opted for the extra 90 minutes of sleep and now I feel a lot better.  I will have to see about running tonight.

But now that I am thinking about it, do I have to run?  Right now, I’m just trying to exercise and be healthier.  I know I’ve been talking about cardio and stuff but I mostly run (if I do anything at all).  Maybe it’s time to change that up.  Maybe tonight I’ll play Dance Dance Revolution with my kids, or Just Dance; and get some movement in that way… I think I need some variety.

Cigarettes.  A fellow quitter started back up last week and I was really put to the test as we spend quite a bit of time together and he smelled like cigarettes.  I am happy to report, however, that I still have not smoked, and it’s now been 20 weeks.  I’ve been drinking pretty heavily, and with some recent family drama regarding alcohol, this might be a good time to revisit my alcohol policy.

Food.  Boy have I upped my sugar game.  I have been eating so much candy.  So. Much. Candy.  That has to stop!   I really feel awful too, when I go too long without decent food.  So this week I’m back to home made Paleo chicken salad for lunch, and back to watching my carbs and getting more protein in my breakfast.