How to enjoy a daily dose of exercise despite brain injury

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How to enjoy a daily dose of exercise despite brain injury


Millions of people have turned to home fitness videos since Covid-19 lockdown rules were first enforced, say the organisers of the European Week of Sport (23-30 September 2020).[1] 

But are there any workout videos suitable for brain injury survivors who may have cognitive, postural or mobility impairments?

And what other forms of exercise can they safely enjoy when Covid-19 social distancing rules are in force?


Here are 15 ideas to inspire and motivate!


Adaptive yoga

Don some comfy clothing and prepare to stretch your way to feeling fitter!

Adaptive or sitting yoga is suitable for everyone, particularly wheelchair users, as a safe way to increase flexibility, strength and balance.

Find out how with WheelPower, the British Wheelchair Sports Foundation, here: 

WheelPower - Adaptive yoga

Krysalis Clinical manager, Vicky Baylis is also a yoga teacher and recommends yoga “to help keep stress and anxiety at bay”. More here: Simple yoga techniques - PDF


Fitness training

The Special Olympics specialises in inclusivity and the charity doesn’t disappoint with its Fit5 fitness training videos.

Find them here: Special Olympics - Health and Fitness

Disability Horizons magazine, by and for disabled people, gives the thumbs up to 8 fitness videos suitable for all ages and abilities here: Disability Horizons - Exercise videos for disable people



Parasport, a ParalympicsGB disability inclusion campaign, has devised 2 workouts for wheelchair users to improve mobility and elevate the heart rate.

Get moving here: Parasport - stretching and mobility and Parasport - Gentle aerobics

MyTherappy, an NHS database of health-related apps, currently offers 7 apps related to brain injury and ‘being active’.

They can be downloaded to Apple iOS, Android and Windows for free or a small cost. Find them here: My Ther'appy'



Gentle exercise

Take a deep breath and de-stress with these gentle exercises presented by Headway -the brain injury association’s Preston branch: Headway Preston - Gentle Exercise



Take a tour of your own home or leg it out for some fresh air but if you’re walking outdoors to keep fit, make sure you follow the latest Covid-19 safety rules. 

Find them here: - Safely meeting with others


Sports and swimming  

From 24 September 2020, the rule of six will apply to organised sport for over 18s, which means no more than six people can take part in an organised game.

Organised disability sports, however, are exempt from this rule so it’s worth checking your local council for events or clubs still running during the lockdown.

Public swimming pools are allowed to open with safety guidelines in place. Again, check your local council for details.



If you use a gaming console like Nintendo, Playstation or Xbox to play exercise or fitness ‘games’, then you’re an exergamer!

Otherwise known as active-play video games, there is a wealth of dance and fitness techniques to try, some inter-actively. Buy or download online.


Mini movers

Turn any room into a tiny sports hall with these mini-games aimed to keep you moving and entertained at the same time:


  • Basketball: cheap to buy or make your own out of a metal clothes hanger (bent into a hoop and hung over a door), using a rolled-up paper ball as the ball. Or make a wastepaper bin the target!
  • Bowls/boules/petanque – play this on any flat surface with a reasonable amount of space.
  • Golf: create a mini-golf course using household items as clubs and obstacles, with cups, placed on their sides, as ‘holes’.
  • ‘Table’ tennis/’bat’ and ball: a small bouncy ball, a wooden spoon and a table or wall, and off you go!



Why exercise?

There’s a wealth of scientific evidence showing how exercise benefits us by boosting:


  • Cognitive function
  • Longevity
  • mental health and well-being
  • Physical strength and stamina
  • Disease immunity
  • Social connections
  • Health savings


More information here: NHS - Live well and exercise

More activity ideas for brain injury survivors and their families here: 200 Stay-at-home activities for brain injury survivors and their families



Further reading

What the experts say - stress and anxiety advice for brain injury survivors during the Covid-19 pandemic. Turn off the news, engage with nature, practice mindfulness, stick to a routine and suss your stressors ...

More resources to help brain injury survivors and their families during Covid-19 here: Krysalis public resources

Over 200 stay at home activities for brain injury survivors and their families ...

Twenty apps to boost brain injury rehabilitation ...

Covid-19 Brain injury and me - Diary of an ABI survivor ...

And so much more on our exclusive talking heads blog ...