Teenagers with concussions need to move, not rest

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Teenagers with concussions need to move, not rest

Teenage athletes used to be told to get lots of rest after a concussion. That advice may be out of date.  Instead of hiding out in a dark room and remaining motionless after a concussion, teen athletes might want to lace up their running shoes.

A study found that when adolescents who got concussions playing a sport get aerobic exercise, they are 48 percent less likely to experience long-term concussion symptoms.

Researchers recruited 118 adolescents with concussions and randomly assigned them to a group that got aerobic exercise and a control group that did only stretching and breathing exercises. All of the children wore heart rate monitors while doing the activities.

The adolescents who got their heart rate up with cycling, jogging, and other aerobic activities recovered within an average of about 15 days. Those who stretched recovered within an average of about 21 days.

This finding is important because delayed recovery comes with substantial costs to adolescents, including academic difficulties, the risk for depression, and reduced quality of life.

The study’s first author said aerobic exercise is “often the only treatment that adolescent athletes need.” There was another surprise hidden in the study data: Teens assigned to the aerobic exercise group were much more likely to adhere to their regimen compared to the kids who stretched instead. That “speaks to another advantage of aerobic exercise,” the researchers write: “Its appeal to adolescent athletes.”

The research was published in the journal Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.


© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog provides healthcare tips and advice that you can trust about a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

2 Comments

  1. I watched inside story on Liftable TV today for the first time. It was with Dr. B Jenkins, author of many books including “Left Behind” and the sixteen book series after that. I loved that and it was very inspirational to me. Thank you; I already shared Dr. Walt’s face-book page on my face-book.

    • Hey Kelly,

      Thanks for the kind words. I love this new show. Future guests include Debbie Maccomber, Patricia Layton, Gary Chapman, Ruth Graham, Charles Martin, Karen Kingsbury, and many others. I’ll post a blog about the show later today. Please do post a comment there also. Thanks.

      Walt

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