Summarized by Meaghan Dowdell, SPT
When someone experiences a brain injury, they may become more likely to lead a lifestyle with little physical activity, which can affect their independence and the things they enjoy doing, making life less fulfilling.
But, there’s good news! Taking part in a supervised exercise program after a brain injury can actually help improve both the physical and mental aspects of health. A study done in 2022 by Pérez-Rodríguez and colleagues looked at different types of exercises and how much people did them, finding out what helped the most for those with brain injuries.
They studied adults with brain injuries who did exercises like aerobics, strength training, or a mix of both for about 12 weeks. The exercises ranged from one to seven times a week, lasting between 30 to 120 minutes each time. They checked how these exercise programs affected things like balance, endurance, and mobility, as well as how people felt about themselves and their social interactions.
The big discovery was that no matter what type of exercise they did, those who stuck to the programs saw positive changes. It means that they improved in all those areas we mentioned before, which makes life better and more enjoyable after a brain injury.
So, it’s suggested that people with brain injuries should join supervised exercise programs that they can easily do and enjoy. Activities like walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, or weight lifting can be great choices. And having friends or family support you during these activities is a big plus!
Before starting any exercise program, it’s a good idea to check with a physical therapist or health care professional. They can make sure the exercises are safe and suitable for you and your goals. When you find exercises that you like and find important, it becomes easier to make them a part of your regular routine. This helps improve your life and health after a brain injury.
For more detailed information on the studies included in this review and the outcome measures performed, here is the link for the full article: https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/pzac153
Pérez-Rodríguez, M., Gutiérrez-Suárez, A., Arias, J. Á. R., Andreu-Caravaca, L., & Pérez-Tejero, J. (2022). Effects of Exercise Programs on Functional Capacity and Quality of Life in People With Acquired Brain Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Physical therapy, pzac153. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/pzac153