It is widely known that, as remarked on by the NIH, “Exercise-based therapies can promote recovery of function and are easily implemented in the clinical rehabilitation setting.” Since at least the turn of this century, the government has been studying the benefits of a certain type of exercise, yoga, within various segments of the population. In September, federally-sanctioned National Yoga Awareness Month, one should look at the specific benefits of yoga for those who have suffered a brain injury.
Though there are benefits from the practice of yoga for all individuals, the above-quote comes from a current NIH study regarding the energizing effects of exercise for those with brain injuries. That study is not set to end until 2022, however the researchers have already discovered, “Very early [post-brain injury] exercise seems to exacerbate brain injury, while later exercise seems to be beneficial.” (The NIH does not state how one is to determine the appropriate time in one’s recovery to restart it.) Further governmental information is limited as, in a 2012 article titled The therapeutic value of yoga in neurological disorder, the NIH stated that the benefits of exercise for those with many neurological disorders is a “largely unexamined treatment”.
In the meantime, there are known benefits of yoga for the general population, including enhancing one’s quality of life and wellbeing, and benefits specifically for the brain injured/disabled population, such benefits as: strengthening muscle, increasing flexibility, increasing endurance, coping with setbacks, calming an active mind. Previously-mentioned Former Rep. Gabby Giffords has remarked that her recovery from brain injury has been though, “Speech therapy. Physical therapy. And YOGA, too.”
As the government states, “The purpose of this month is to promote the health and benefits of yoga and inspire a healthy lifestyle.” In celebration, many yoga studios and gyms are offering free yoga classes this month. Yoga can also be accessed through your television, computer and smart phone.
(However, if you do not begin to exercise or do not continue with your exercise/yoga schedule, do not fret. Few people, with a TBI or not, adhere entirely to their workout schedules. Additionally, the NIH found that, “Injury severity, age and pre-injury exercise history predict adherence to a home-based exercise program in adults with traumatic brain injury.”)