Concussion symptoms can make it difficult to engage in normal, everyday activities like school, work, and leisure.
Just like with exercise, in the past it was suggested that people avoid activity until symptoms resolve. But, we know that avoiding normal activities can actually make you feel worse over time.
We recommend you maintain some low-level activity during your rest phase (up to 3 days) and then slowly and gradually return to normal activities in a prescribed way.
When can I return to activity?
- You should do restful activities right away for the first few days (see the Rest section)
- You don’t need to stop all activity completely
- You’ll want to return to easy activities first (like stuff around the house) before progressing back to school or work
- You should not return to any risky activities where there’s a chance of injury for at least 2-3 weeks and in most cases longer. Talk to your healthcare team.
What type of activities are okay to do after concussion?
- Start with restful activities (see Rest section) for up to 3 days like
- Light exercise
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Relaxation exercises
- Listening to mellow music at low volume
- Podcasts and audiobooks
- Colouring, drawing and crafts
- Walking in nature
- Taking a bath or shower
- Begin low level activities at home like basic chores, making meals, watching TV, using a computer, and others but limit your time.
- Continue to build up tolerances at home
- Consider returning to school or work part time after the first few days at home
- Return to sports practice only after progressing yourself at home, and getting clearance from your healthcare providers
How much activity is okay?
- If you are doing typical safe everyday activities, you will not damage your brain (even though you still experience symptoms).
- Start with less that you think you can do (even just a few minutes) and increase the duration, intensity or type of activity gradually
- Use a “stoplight” exertion scale as a rough guide and aim for the yellow zone.
- Get support and guidance from your healthcare team
Stoplight Exertion Scale
- RED ZONE. My symptoms flared up immediately and did not calm down for hours (or days). I had trouble coping. I should avoid this.
- YELLOW ZONE. My symptoms increased but were tolerable and subsided within a few minutes or hours. This is the goal.
- GREEN ZONE. Activity did not change my symptoms much. I should increase the intensity or duration .