How a unique exercise approach can improve behavior, mood, and performance
By Steve Cogan, ADD Coach & Educator with The Natural Path
As a kid, I had always known. I didn’t know then I had ADD, but I knew a little intense bike-riding around the neighborhood could calm me down and help me be more present. In the past 20 years, brain research has demonstrated that short bursts of exercise can have cognitive benefits.
Self-Stimulating to Re-Balance
Now that I am an adult, I’ve witnessed that one of the hallmarks of ADD and ADHD with my coaching clients is the need to self-stimulate, which raises cortisol levels in the brain.
Some choose to engage in risky or extreme sports like gambling or skydiving. Others instigate conflict with teachers or parents as teens or with spouses as adults. Still others suffer from addictions or choose fast-paced careers as ER doctors.
While they all engage in these behaviors to re-balance their brain when it’s offset by some kind of stressor, most don’t realize there are healthier ways they could self-stimulate and achieve the same brain balancing effects.
The Role of Cortisol
ADD and ADHD tend to manifest as a problem of extremes. The brain is either in a low cortisol state (bored, disengaged, and unmotivated) or in a high cortisol state (overstimulated, dysregulated, and stressed).
In either state, I have found that my clients benefit from incorporating short bouts of high-intensity exercise into their day. And this is where Fastercise comes in. Fastercise involves timing 1-2 minutes of high-intensity exercise to respond to your body’s signals (such as hunger) several times a day.
Fastercise: an Alternative to ADD Medication
For many people, short bursts of high intensity exercise has also shown to be an effective natural alternative to ADD medication.
For those bored and unmotivated, a short burst of exercise naturally stimulates the brain to raise cortisol which improves focus, alertness, and concentration. For those stressed and overstimulated, strategies are needed to calm down.
A short burst of intense exercise like Fastercise balances out cortisol and disengages the brain from a stressful event by stimulating endorphins and serotonin to help induce calm.
Fastercise is Portable
For over 10 years, I have been instinctively telling my ADD clients to do jumping jacks, running in place, stationary bike, or treadmill as their intense exercise for about 1 minute and now I have discovered Fastercise, which does just that.
One huge benefit of Fastercise is that it can be done anywhere, at any time, in any apparel. You don’t need to carry equipment around or go to a gym to reap the benefits of Fastercise.
I have started suggesting to my teen clients that they do “Shivercise” (one of the two primary exercises in Fastercise) for 1 minute at home just before they sit down to study or find somewhere to do it at their high school if they find themselves tired or unfocused during the day.
One of my clients, an 8 year old boy, tends to get restless at times in his 2nd grade classroom; the teacher has been amenable to allowing the child to go outside the classroom and do Shivercise for 1 minute. After which he re-enters the class, he is much calmer, able to focus, and can stay in his seat.
Additionally, I have suggested Fastercise to one of my adult clients who tends to hyperfocus and get stuck on certain negative thoughts and emotions. In all these cases, Fastercise does the trick: it resets the brain and tends to get it more balanced, improving emotional self-regulation, energy levels, calm demeanor, ability to focus, and self-awareness.
HALT Brain States
According to Daniel Siegel, children tend to get off balance when they are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (HALT). Fastercise has the potential to address these child brain states, which can be the source of many common child behaviors.
For example, a child coming off a “sugar rush” may be hungry, angry, lonely or tired due to a lack of fuel delivery to the brain. If the child in this state does 1 minute of Fastercise, stored energy is released and delivered to the brain even faster than it would from eating.
By balancing cortisol and blood sugar, Fastercise naturally curbs hunger, boosts energy, and calms emotions. Fastercise ultimately has a lot to offer the child, teen, or adult with ADD or ADHD, as well as children in general.
With this program, you get it all: on top of the hunger curbing, lean muscle building, and fat ketosis-stimulating effects, you get an improved ability to focus, concentrate, learn new material, and curb your anxiety, depression, and negative thinking. Fastercise Your Brain into balance!
About the Author: Steve Cogan, MPH, ACG
Steve offers ADD/ADHD Coaching for Pre-Teens to College Age, Parents, Couples, and Working adults. His holistic brain-based approach focuses on belief systems, brain states, attachment, motivation, and influences of sleep, nutrition, exercise, and stress. He employs mindfulness based stress reduction, time management, reminder systems, organizational strategies, and behavior modification/incentive-based systems for parents and children. He has recently developed a 6-Part Webinar Series called “Practical Solutions for Parents of ADD/ADHD Teens/Adolescents.” For more information and a Free Guide for Parents visit www.ndnaturalpath.com/services/add-adversity-coaching/