Brain trauma is a serious condition, but it’s more common than you may think. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association estimate that 27 million new cases of traumatic brain injury (TBI) occur every year, with 3.2m of these resulting in a form of disability. As with many disabilities, TBI impacts your ability to exercise, and tailoring your workout can help you to feel good while working out, while aiding your recovery to boot.
The Anatomy of TBI
TBI is defined as being caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head, according to the CDC, and can encompass symptoms ranging from minor – loss of memory or consciousness – through to severe, such as a coma or extreme memory loss. This range of impacts is what defines the severity of injury and legal liability; a brain injury attorney will focus on the demonstrated impact the TBI has on day-to-day life and what costs a family will incur. As a result, TBI can have anything from minor to huge impacts on a person’s ability to work out.
The good news is that, according to UTSW Med, 90% of those diagnosed with TBI are able to continue exercising through their recovery. For the other 10%, workouts can be potentially exacerbating. Positively, a study published in the Journal of Athletic Training found that physical exercise can show potentially useful indicators in measuring TBI recovery – as well as aiding it. Treadmill tests in particular were highlighted as beneficial.
The reason treadmill tests are so effective is that treadmill work is mild. According to CongitiveFX USA, you will want to focus on gentle cardio work while recovering from TBI. Swimming, elliptical, and low incline treadmill are the obvious and best answers here. The key is in treating the body gently, but with enough ambition in exercise to achieve good results. Given that TBI is a condition that benefits from exercise, this can quickly become a symbiotic relationship – benefiting your brain through exercise, and also looking at an objective way of recovery.
In short, take it slow, and take it easy. Doing some exercise to get the heart rate up and the blood pumping is important – but with a thought to your injury. Just like any other recovery process, treating the injury with care and making a concerted effort to improve personal health is key.