In study, exercise
The Washington Post
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That advice may be out of date.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% 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. They all 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 15.6 days. Those who stretched recovered within an average of 21.1 days.
"This finding is important because delayed recovery comes with substantial cost to adolescents, including academic difficulties, risk for depression, and reduced quality of life," the researchers wrote.
In a news release, John Leddy, director of the University at Buffalo's Concussion Management Clinic and the study's first author, says aerobic exercise is "often the only treatment that adolescent athletes need."
There was a surprise hidden in the study data: Teens assigned to the aerobic exercise group were much more likely to adhere to their regimen compared with 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 Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.