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Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery

Full-Body & Cognitive TBI Exercises to Try at Home

Many of the secondary effects caused by a TBI can be managed through traumatic brain injury recovery exercises. Rehabilitation provides many benefits such as improving movement, rebuilding strength and restoring cognitive function.

After a traumatic brain injury, neural pathways may become damaged and the effects depend on the location and severity of the injury. Without healthy neural pathways, the brain may have difficulty communicating with the affected muscles. Fortunately, the brain is versatile and has the ability to rewire itself through neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity strengthens existing neural pathways and creates new ones, which helps improve overall function after a TBI.

Finding fun, engaging exercises helps keep you motivated and ensures you make the most out of your recovery. To help you navigate the rehabilitation process, here are some of the most effective physical and cognitive TBI exercises to do at home:

  • Seated hip internal/external rotation;
  • Seated hip abduction/adduction;
  • Seated marching;
  • Lateral trunk flexion (oblique crunches);
  • Seated trunk extension;
  • Weight shifts; and
  • Alternating heel/toe raises.

Instead of targeting the muscles, the following TBI exercises will help address cognitive function. Just as you can improve muscle function through rehab exercise, you can improve cognitive function through cognitive exercise:

  • Journal/creative writing;
  • Spaced retrieval;
  • Puzzles & board games; and
  • Cognitive therapy games.

Exercising after a brain injury is important but it’s equally important to find exercises that are suitable and effective for you. When choosing your TBI exercises for your home therapy regimen, it can help to think about the muscles you want to target and your ability level. Your therapist is also a great resource that can provide you with a customized rehabilitation plan with cognitive and physical therapy exercises most suitable for your condition.

To access the full article on recovery from a traumatic brain injury with exercise, click here.

In partnership with the YMCA, Hally Health focuses on a variety of topics aimed at people of any age or fitness level who want to stay healthy and active. Try this Mini Tabata workout that’s sure to get your heart pumping. To view all our YMCA partnership fitness videos throughout the month, please visit or