A Guide to Post-Concussion Workouts

If you have recently experienced a concussion, you may be eager to know when it will be safe for you to resume your regular exercise routine. Typically, doctors advise taking it easy for at least two weeks following a concussion, with the possibility of returning to contact sports after six weeks. However, it is important to approach physical activity in a cautious and gradual manner. This involves starting with light exercises and gradually increasing the intensity over time. To assist you in navigating post-concussion workouts, we have prepared a comprehensive guide below.

Why Exercise After A Concussion Is Important

Exercise After A Concussion: Why It's Important

When it comes to concussions, the traditional approach has been to completely rest and avoid any physical or mental activities until symptoms disappear. This practice, known as "cocooning," was believed to give the brain the necessary time and space to heal.

However, recent studies have shown that prolonged cocooning can actually have negative effects on concussion recovery. It can lead to feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety, all of which can exacerbate symptoms and prolong the healing process.

Fortunately, there is growing evidence that incorporating moderate exercise into the recovery process can be beneficial. Research conducted in 2018 suggests that engaging in mild physical activity within the first week after a concussion can help speed up recovery and reduce the risk of developing post-concussion syndrome.

By introducing controlled and appropriate forms of exercise, individuals with concussions can promote healing and improve their overall well-being. It's important to note that exercise should be undertaken with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional to ensure it is safe and suitable for each individual case.

What Kind Of Exercises Can I Perform Post-Concussion?

To ensure a safe and gradual recovery post-concussion, it is important to engage in appropriate exercises that do not pose any risk of further injury or sudden movements. Activities such as jumping, running, and contact sports should be avoided.

If your intention is to eventually return to contact sports, it is crucial to approach each exercise stage with patience, attentiveness, and caution. Rushing through the stages may result in inadequate preparation and increased susceptibility to future concussions. It is essential to refrain from advancing to the next step if symptoms persist or worsen.

It is recommended to start slow and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your exercises. Even if you are only able to engage in physical activity for a short period initially, it is still beneficial. Over time, you will be able to progress further and alleviate your symptoms.

In accordance with Parachute's Concussion Guidelines, which are supported by medical research, the following steps can be followed:

  1. Symptom-Limiting Activity: Commence light physical and cognitive activities, such as simple chores and school work, within 24-48 hours after experiencing a concussion.
  2. Light Aerobic Activity: Engage in low-intensity exercises like walking or stationary cycling. Avoid resistance training, even with light weights.
  3. No-Contact Sports Activity: Participate in activities like running, skating, and throwing for up to 20 minutes. Ensure there is no body contact, high-speed stops, or resistance training involved.
  4. No-Contact Training Drills: Incorporate training drills, such as passing drills, without engaging in contact sports. Gradually introduce resistance training during this stage.
  5. Contact Training Drills: Seek clearance from your doctor before starting contact sport drills. It is now permissible to begin a resistance training regimen.
  6. Return to Sports/Exercise: Once all symptoms have subsided following physical activity, you can resume participating in contact sports, training drills, and resistance training.

Each step should be given a minimum of 24 hours for completion. If you experience no symptoms, you may be able to return to your regular exercise routine within approximately one week. However, it is essential to consult your doctor for reassessment if symptoms reappear after receiving medical clearance.

Why Did My Doctor Recommend A Prolonged Rest Period?

It is important to understand why your doctor has recommended a prolonged rest period for you. While some doctors may not stay up to date with the latest research, it is advisable to seek a second opinion if you no longer experience any symptoms but are still advised to rest. It is possible that your doctor might have identified something that you are unaware of, in which case it would be wise to request further testing.

Post-concussion syndrome can have serious repercussions, such as exercise intolerance, vision problems, and inner ear issues, which can persist for a long time. Therefore, consulting a specialist who specializes in concussion treatment is highly recommended. Their expertise in addressing post-concussion syndrome will ensure a speedy recovery.

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