Following brain injury, the effects of trauma to the brain continue for months and years after the event and are associated with chronic inflammation and progressive neurodegeneration.
Physical activity can facilitate a lot in recovery following brain injury. However starting the exercise immediately or late after the injury is variable depending upon the individual case, therefore always consult the specialist before getting into any physical activity and exercise following brain injury.
Benefits of exercise after brain injury
Exercise after certain period as suggested by the specialist, is helpful in reducing the effects and damages caused by the traumatic brain injury. Some of the benefits of physical activity (exercises, sports, etc.) following brain injury are:
Up regulation of brain functions
Voluntary exercise and physical activity results in enhancement of activity induced neuroplasticity.
Studies have shown that voluntary exercises lead to brain derived neurotrophic factor up regulation along with associated proteins that are involved in functioning of synapsis. However they suggest that they do so when it’s done after a delay following traumatic brain injury.
Improvement of mood
Research shows that 30 to 60 minutes sessions of exercise around 4 days a week enhance the mood of patients following traumatic brain injury. The more the exercise, the better the results. Exercise is otherwise a mood enhancer in non-brain injury people too and is helpful in managing depression. Therefore exercise should be considered a part of treatment for depressed patients following brain injury.
Reduction in cognitive and routine problems
Research shows that patients undergoing physical activity after certain period following brain injury had marked reduction in cognitive functions as compared to those who didn’t undergo exercise routines. They had fewer complains related to cognition, sleep issues, memory, irritability, etc. as compared to non-exercisers.
Improved Quality of Life
As a whole, the traumatic brain injury patients undergoing exercise have better quality of life than the ones without any physical activity. This can be due to the overall effect that includes reduced depression, improved cognitive and overall brain functioning, improved body strength and stability, etc. They were better in schools and at work as well as in community.
Exercise immediately after brain injury
Brain tissue undergoes dramatic recovery and changes following injury. Studies have shown that voluntary exercises and physical activity immediately following the brain injury can delay the recovery process due to the disruption of molecular response to exercise. Therefore always consult the specialist for expert opinion before coming up to any conclusion.