6 Reasons Why Martial Arts Are Good for ADHD

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Exercise is very helpful in treating and managing ADHD. As John Ratey explains in his book, Spark, “when you exercise, levels of dopamine and norepinephrine increase.” This reduces ADHD symptoms including distractibility and impulsivity.​

Because exercise is so important in the management of ADHD, finding a form of exercise you enjoy is essential. Practicing Martial Arts such as Karate, Judo, Kung fu, Taekwondo, and Jujitsu is an excellent option to consider.

Here are 6 reasons why practicing Martial Arts is beneficial when you have ADHD:

1. Structure

Martial art classes are structured. Each time you attend, you know the framework the class will follow. For example: warm up, stretching, meditation, skills practice and finally a bow to the instructor. This structured framework is helpful when you have ADHD; particularly if you struggle with transitions. Your brain is primed because you know what to expect in every class.

2. Variety

Many people with ADHD dislike exercising because they find it boring. One of the reasons why Martial Arts is compelling is within the structure, there is also variety. There are self-defense moves to learn, weapon techniques such as a knife or stick to master and non-weapon skills. For example, grappling, strikes and kicks to develop. You can take part in competitions or work towards your new personal goal; such as new belt.

3. Improves Self-Discipline

Practicing Martial Arts helps you to develop self-discipline and self-control, no matter how impulsive you are. In a Martial Arts school, you show respect to your instructor by waiting for a command and consideration to other students by waiting and watching them to practice a move before your turn.

This structured, respectful environment is a perfect way for you to develop self-discipline. This self-discipline remains with you in all your areas of life.

4. Positivity

Martial Arts classes are a positive environment to be in. Instructors are encouraging. They focus on what you are doing well and give you constructive feedback on how to improve. You might also receive support and encouragement from other students. This positive enforcement is often a new experience for many people with ADHD, who are used to hearing negative feedback of things they forgot or missed. The positive feedback helps improve your self-confidence.

5. Goals

Within each style of Martial Arts, there are series of goals for students to achieve; some in the form of a belt system. Beginners start with a white belt and work towards a black belt. Each new colour requires practice and commitment until it is achieved. Having a realistic goal to work towards and attain is powerful when you have ADHD, as it restores a belief in yourself that you can achieve goals you set. Many people with ADHD loss faith in their abilities, particularly if they were living with undiagnosed ADHD for many years.

6. Improves Self-Esteem

Practicing Martial Arts is an excellent way to improve your self-esteem.

It provides a sound format to improve your physical fitness level, and you might be the fittest you have ever been! Also, because your ADHD symptoms are reduced and your self-discipline enhanced, you feel less stressed and in more control of your life. Finally, achieving goals and receiving positive feedback boost self-confidence which in turn allows you to achieve successes in other parts of life too.

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