Exercise & Health

“How My Workout Worked Out”

When it comes to exercising and eating right, I fall prey to distractions and copouts.

Person with ADHD working out by running in Autumn
Person with ADHD working out by running in Autumn

ADHD occurs throughout my day, every day. But when it comes to exercising and eating right, attention deficit disorder is at its worst. I fall prey to distractions and copouts (“I don’t want to walk in the dark, I’ll go tomorrow morning,” “I have the whole day, I’ll do it later,” or “Sometime soon, I think… “).

Recently, I observed my workout behavior, recording my actions and thoughts. Here’s how my workout worked out:

  • I decide to go for a jog.
  • I stop to wash my face.
  • I squeeze face wash into my hand, then realize that I need to put my hair back.
  • I get a hair holder.
  • My face wash is still in one hand.
  • I attempt putting my hair up with the other hand.
  • I fail.
  • I rinse the face wash away and put my hair up.
  • I go back to my room.
  • I try on three or four different tops and shorts before I am satisfied with my jogging outfit.
  • While I’m putting my shoes on, I see all the clothes on my floor.
  • I decide to run a load of laundry while I’m out jogging.
  • I go to the kitchen to get detergent.

[Is Your Brain Hard-Wired for Unhealthy Habits?]

  • I figure, since I’m in the kitchen anyway, a quick smoothie would hit the spot.
  • I put the ingredients in the blender … we’re out of milk.
  • I think, I can stop by the store and buy a carton during my jog.
  • I return to my room to retrieve my wallet.
  • I decide I need music.
  • I set my wallet down and pick up my Walkman.
  • It doesn’t have a CD in it — they’re all in the car.
  • On the way to the car, I spot my dog, Lakota.
  • I decide that the dog is in desperate need of a walk.
  • I set the Walkman down and grab the leash.
  • I tie Lakota to the front porch and run back to my room to get my wallet.
  • Wait, there’s the remote control I was looking for all morning!
  • I grab the remote control.
  • I remember that I left my Walkman outside.
  • I get my Walkman and grab a bottle of water for my jog.
  • I set down the water and run to my room for my wallet.
  • I wonder if it’s chilly enough to wear a sweater…
  • I set the Walkman and remote down and look for a sweater.
  • I run outside to see if I really need the sweater.
  • Nope, don’t need a sweater.
  • I decide, since I’m already outside, I’ll go to the store first.
  • When I get back, I can put my wet clothes in the dryer.
  • I feel like a genius after thinking of that.
  • I head to the store.
  • Once I get there, I realize:

I left my wallet at home.
My face still isn’t washed.
My clothes are still dirty.
My Walkman is still in my room.
I forgot where I put the remote.
My CDs are still in the car.
I am still out of milk.
I can’t make a smoothie.
I have no water.
I have no sweater.
I’m dehydrated.
I’m freezing.
And my dog is still tied to the front porch.

[Build Your Muscles, Build Your Brain]

Very distressed, I head home. Now, where do I live again?

With ADHD, one has to learn to overcome distractions. Store all of your workout gear in one place so you’re always prepared when you want to get going. Keep your workout foremost in your mind; the objective of doing laundry and making smoothies before a workout is, most likely, a desire to avoid the workout. Focus on your goal and develop a routine. Write out a schedule, if necessary.

Now, think about the last time you worked out — how did you feel? Massive headache, muscle ache, sweatiness, and shortness of breath aside, I’ll bet you were pretty proud of yourself. You let go of a lot of endorphins, and could pat yourself on the back and bask in a sweaty euphoria.

You go, girl!