A new study suggests it may be good for youngsters to get some exercise in the week after suffering a concussion. The current advice is to rest until symptoms diminish.
Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario studied 5- to 18-year olds who had acute concussions. Some of them engaged in physical activity like walking, swimming or stationary cycling—nothing likely to result in another concussion. The remaining subjects did not exercise.
More study needed
Those who were active were found to be less likely to have persistent post-concussion symptoms at 28 days. Lead researcher Dr. Roger Zemek thinks the exercise may increase blood flow to the brain that would help it to heal. He also says “extended rest may hamper concussion recovery because of the negative mental and physical effects associated with inactivity, which can lead to secondary symptoms of fatigue, depression and anxiety.” However, he says more study is needed.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.