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Exercise Physiology for Acquired Brain Injury

Acquired brain injury (ABI) is an umbrella term that refers to any damage to the brain that occurs after birth. There are two types of ABI, traumatic (TBI) and non-traumatic. TBI is defined as an alteration to the brain directly caused by an external force (e.g. motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries). Non-traumatic brain injury is caused internally due to factors like a lack of oxygen (hypoxia), hazardous substances/toxins, secondary complications to tumors, strokes or infectious diseases. These injuries result in reduced neurological function affecting cognitive, physical, emotional and independent function. There is a huge variation between functional capacity in people with ABI but still reduced physical activity in this population has lasting effects for their health, mobility and function. ABI is more common than you think, with around 1 in 45 Australians, or 432,700 people living with an ABI. Almost a quarter of these people are aged 65 years or younger. ABI prevalence increases with age, with people aged over 65 years twice as likely to have ABI.


Exercise can help increase functional capacity and reduce risk of secondary health conditions due to inactivity for those with an ABI. As there can be large variation in ABI symptoms, individuals with ABI should always seek exercise programs tailored by an Exercise Physiologist according to the type and level of impairment. Exercise  rehabilitation is an important step towards recovery after an ABI. The team at Exercise Matters will tailor an exercise program to your needs with typical goals aimed at improving mobility, function, balance and coordination. The long term goal is to improve overall functional capacity.

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