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Answer transcribed from Brightway's interview with physical therapist Susan Little:
Well, you're asking a physical therapist, so you can probably guess what I'm going to say. If you go to a baker and ask them what the best thing to eat is, they're probably going to say baked goods. If you come to a physical therapist and ask what the best thing is to make them better, I am definitely going to say movement and exercise. I don't think anybody could argue that movement and exercise aren’t important to us as human beings. I would like to say that prior to a brain injury, exercise is important. After a brain injury, exercise is essential if you have the desire to heal, improve, and have a healthy and well life. I always say that if we could provide exercise in pill form, everybody would take it because it's easy to swallow that vitamin, but not so easy to lift those weights and get on the exercise bike. Know that it is a challenge to anybody who is healthy. It doesn't hurt for them to exercise and isn't hard for them to get out of the house. However, keep in mind that it is more important for you as a survivor of brain injury to do that exercise and movement.
Exercise actually speeds up neuroplasticity as well. It keeps our brain healthier and staves off many other diseases that are found to occur with aging. The dementias, Parkinson's disease, and so on. Again, if I could bottle it in a pill or a smoothie, we would all be taking it because movement is the key to keeping our brains healthy and to promoting that recovery and healing of our brain.
Answer transcribed from the Brightway Answers interview with recreation therapist Holly Auth:
Nutrition is super important, but sleep is just as important.
Eating healthy is a great way to promote someone's health. There are many different articles online that talk about brain injury and nutrition. Maintaining a high protein intake is really good for the brain healing process. Foods like blueberries that have antioxidants in it, and “brain foods” like chia seeds are all really good things to eat that will promote your brain health.
Other than nutrition, one thing that I always talk about as a recreation therapist is making sure that you're getting enough sleep. After a brain injury, your brain might require more time to rest and heal. Making sure that you are sleeping enough is a perfect way to promote the healing process. So if you are having difficulty sleeping or staying asleep, you might want to talk to your doctor - they might recommend a supplement, a medication, or even completing a sleep study to better understand your sleeping pattern and to make sure that you're getting the best sleep possible.