Brain Injury Recovery Exercises

A brain injury can be devastating, not only with regard to physical disabilities and lack of function, but for memory, speech, cognitive thinking and reasoning processes as well. In some cases, you may be able to restore function and use of damaged areas of the brain through physical, speech or occupational therapy, according to the Brain Injury Recovery Network 1. Understand the basics of brain injury recovery exercises and what they do, to offer the best rehabilitation and restoration of physical and cognitive function as possible following a brain injury 1.

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Range of Motion

Range of motion exercises are a type of physical therapy that keeps the joints mobile and functioning. Range of motion exercises can be done by the individual, or with help from physical therapies in a method known as passive range of motion. Range of motion exercises help maintain strength and can be separated into short or long term goals, according to the Brain Injury Recovery Network 1. Such exercises as simply extending and flexing the forearm or the lower leg help to maintain muscle tone and functioning ligaments and tendons that enable you to gradually regain strength or function of the limb over time.

Cognitive and Attention Exercises

Engage in a variety of activities and exercises that help rebuild cognitive skills, suggests the University of Alabama Traumatic Brain Injury Model System. Such exercises may focus on writing skills through drawing shapes or copying shapes. More precise spatial and writing skills may be engaged as you grow stronger and more coordinated, such as drawing dots or marks in the middle of long lines, or relearning letters of the alphabet.

Listening Exercises

Say a list of letters or numbers in a slow, steady tone of voice and ask the person who has suffered the brain injury to make a mark on the paper every time she hears a certain number or letter. Or, say letters of the alphabet or say short words with a certain sound, asking the patient to nod or raise his hand when he hears that sound, suggests the University of Alabama Traumatic Brain Injury Model System.


Practice basic neurobics exercises every day, which helps create and develop neural cells and pathways in the brain, according to the Franklin Institute 2. Neurobics can be performed by literally exercising the brain. For example, instead of brushing your hair with your dominant hand, switch to your non-dominant hand. Such exercises help stimulate and challenge the brain, enhancing plasticity, or formulating new growth and development.