How Cycling Can Help People with ADHD Gain Control Over Their Condition

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Mental health comes in many forms. For some, the simple act of taking medication and watching how they behave is enough to manage symptoms of a variety of conditions that can prove disruptive to daily routines. For others, relief requires more than medication. Be it a change in diet or radically altered daily activities, those who deal with ADHD on a day to day basis might find solace in a bit of help from exercise in the form of cycling.

The prevalence of ADHD continues to rise and fall as the years tick by. Even the lowest estimates show at least five percent of children have been diagnosed with ADHD. On a state by state basis, some states even report numbers as high as 13 percent or higher. It requires work and dedication to manage drifting thoughts and restlessness without resorting to medication that can drastically alter someone’s perception of the world around them.

How Cycling Can Help People with ADHD Gain Control Over Their Condition Click To Tweet

Exercise and ADHD

At its core, ADHD is a fairly complicated set of symptoms and internal urges that lead to restlessness, difficulty focusing and other side effects that can negatively impact anyone’s day to day life. While this is usually corrected through stimulants, supplementing those stimulants with exercise acts as a supporting activity that can boost focus and help those with focus lapses on a day to day basis.

One of the simplest ways exercise can boost focus is by offering encouragement towards future tasks. As pointed out by ADDitude, learned helplessness is a very real and unfortunate side effect ADHD can cause in anyone, but children are especially vulnerable. By failing to live up to standards or achieve certain goals they may become stuck in a rut wherein they believe any task they begin is doomed to fail, which can soon become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Exercise can help bridge that gap and reduce instances of learned helplessness through easily achieved goals and routines.

The simplest outcome of exercise is the release of endorphins. Paired with other chemicals in the brain, endorphins help maintain focus and mood which just so happens to be perfect for those who deal with attention issues on a long-term basis.

Cycling: The key to Feeling Better

Hopping on a bike and going for a ride isn’t a newfound treatment for ADHD. It’s a fairly well-documented tale even when explored on a single case basis as it was for Adam Leibovitz, a rider who is extremely familiar with biking competitions and used his love for riding as a way to transition off of his ADHD medication.

Adam’s experience goes into detail about the effects of riding and the brain. Endorphins may not be the be-all-end-all when it comes to solving the mysteries of ADHD, but exercise and its established goals along with easily recognized results can boost the confidence and performance of those with a love for physical activity and couch potatoes alike.

Why Bother Going for a Ride?

cycling benefits

Again, the health benefits of cycling are hard to understate. You can combat anxiety and fight stress through the simple act of pedaling around the block. Your brain might use this as an opportunity to build stronger connections, which ties in with Adam Leibovitz’s tale and its support of the theory regarding receptors in the brain and how ADHD sufferers may live with fewer connections without realizing it.

It’s also easy to pick up. Going for a ride really only costs as much as a cheap bike and a helmet will set someone back yet can provide hours upon hours of entertainment and exercise that doesn’t feel like work. Try to convince a child to walk on a treadmill for half an hour a day and you might start to see why outdoor exercise holds a certain clout in exercise levels among children, let alone adults with hectic schedules and social lives to maintain.

By removing the traditional pains of exercise and turning what could be seen as a burden into a fun time to explore and enjoy oneself, cycling turns a part of ADHD treatment into a hobby Click To Tweet

By removing the traditional pains of exercise and turning what could be seen as a burden into a fun time to explore and enjoy oneself, it turns a part of ADHD treatment into a hobby. The inherent stigmas of working through a mental health condition can be effectively turned into a positive.

If anything, the social benefits of being able to join a group of riders with a shared love of their hobby and the positivity that follows could open any number of doors for those who feel as if they spend chunks of their life listlessly drifting between activities they can’t fully focus on.


Going for a bike ride probably isn’t going to cure every symptom of ADHD, but cycling can be a powerful additive in a daily routine for those looking to curb symptoms and better enjoy their lives without making their medicine feel like work.

Hop on a bike and see the neighborhood. Enjoy the outdoors. You’ll probably feel better in one way or another and it just might help you focus when you get back inside.

Author Bio: Amanda Wilks is a writer, contributing author at and sports activist. She loves cycling because it’s fun, it helps her stay fit and above all, it’s healthy. Because riding a bike has numerous mental health benefits, Amanda strongly believes that cycling could help people with ADHD gain more control over their condition. See Amanda’s Twitter for more of her writings.

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