Early implementation of safe aerobic exercise is now recommended as part of the treatment program for a concussion injury. In the past, physical and cognitive rest (including “cocooning”) has been the pillar of concussion recovery. Experts have recently questioned this type of concussion management, noting prolonged rest may extend rather than aid in concussion recovery.
Growing research encourages an initial 24-48 hours of physical and cognitive rest after injury. After this initial rest period, aerobic non-contact physical activity is to be gradually introduced. Early implementation of safe exercise below symptom threshold (below significant exacerbation of symptoms) has been found by numerous studies to aid in recovery after a concussion. The use of safe exercise as a ‘treatment’ for concussion has been found to prevent physical deconditioning, improve symptoms, and avoid feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation.