I’ve been lax with my posting, lately, but for a very good reason — my life is chock-full of some really great developments, and I’ve been focusing on living my life, instead of writing about thinking about living my life.
The relatively recent change with me is quite noticeable, and it’s also remarkable. Both of my neuropsychs are seeing improvements in me, and I’m getting to a point where I’m thinking more and more about what else is possible in my life, and less and less about what sort of damage control I need to do.
One of the things that’s made a tremendous difference, has been exercise. Ever since I started riding the exercise bike for 15-20 minutes, first thing in the morning on Saturday, July 25th, my life has been steadily improving. What’s more, since I started riding the bike — even just for 10-15 minutes on really busy days — I have started to lose the weight I was struggling with, I’ve started lifting my free weights again, and I have more energy and more focus than I have had in years. Literally years. It’s almost too good to be true — but it is true. Something as simple as getting the blood pumping and oxygenating my brain and muscles and overall body has given me the much-needed boost I was desperately in need of for quite some time.
It’s interesting – when I think back over my life, to the times when I was head-injured and was incapacitated, versus the times I was head-injured and managed to make a recovery, exercise has played an important (but till now unnoticed) role.
The times when I was hurt, but managed to eventually bounce back, were the times when I was very active and was getting a lot of energy. I was able to function in school and at work, despite my fuzziness and confusion, and I was able to improve over time. As a kid, I sustained a number of head injuries, some of them pretty disruptive. Yet, I did manage to have an active and involved childhood (all my emotional and behavior issues notwithstanding). Exercise and being active made all the difference in the world.
But when I was injured and stopped exercising and became less active (either drinking a lot or just going off by myself to stare into space for hours at a time without knowing what I was doing), I just couldn’t manage to recover. It took me years to get my act together, and ultimately, it was often deciding to get back to the gym or get back on the exercise bike or get out and move that jump-started my recovery.
I’ve been reading the Give Back Orlando material a lot, lately, and there are some great tips and techniques in there. But for those who are not quite able to keep up with the information, I think that exercise can go a long way towards helping TBI survivors get their acts together. In fact, adding exercise into the daily routine might just help folks get to a place where they can understand the info enough to use it well.
Yes, what a difference exercise makes! I think it should be the first and primary building block in TBI recovery. It’s something so simple, so basic, so fundamental. Just get up and move. If you live with someone who’s sustained a brain injury, get them to get up and move — it might also help you with your own physical figtness. And exercise doesn’t have to be terribly expensive, or even overly complicate. I still cannot bring myself to go to a gym — they’re too loud and there are too many people there, generally, and I have a hard time coordinating my time to get there regularly. Plus, my balance and coordination has been giving me trouble.
A good piece of exercise equipment can solve that issue for you. If you have trouble with balance or coordination, something as basic as an exercise bike (that can go at different speeds with different resistances), can be of tremendous help. All you have to do is sit there, hold on, and pedal to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping. Maybe even break a sweat — it feels good! Believe me, I would be lost without my exercise bike — it’s a life-saver on those days when I am having trouble with my balance, or I am bumping into things left and right. And it wasn’t horribly expensive, either. Anyway, even if it did cost me more money, it would be worth every penny. It solves so many problems I have, in the space of 20 minutes each day.
On my epic journey to take care of my brain and heal my mind, I’m finding more and more that my body needs my attention. I’ve found this to be true:
Take care of the body, take care of the physical vehicle that not only houses and supports the brain, but also takes direction from it, and you may just find your brain better able to take command of your life.
If you’re still sitting here reading this — get up now and move. Do some knee bends, arm circles, leg lefts… it doesn’t have to be complicated or hard. But you do need to do it.
I’m serious — stop reading this — get up and move!