Nick Mercer: Spring’s on the way. Get moving


A while back I saw that Chris Nowinski tweeted this, study by researchers at the University of Buffalo about the benefits of exercise for people who’ve had a concussion, and I thought I’d post now. I was constantly told that my recovery from a severe brain injury (even though, by no means am I back to the way I was pre-injury) was due to my pre- and post- injury fitness. This is an issue I am passionate about and it seemed obvious to me throughout my immediate rehabilitation and continuing recovery/life after my brain injury that exercise and fitness are extremely important. It hasn’t solved my problems or made them go away, but it’s incredibly beneficial and allows me to deal with the effects/issues confidently.

I should know better than to write those four title words when we’re hardly clear of winter. So, first I will apologize in advance to the people of St. John’s. For all intents and purposes, I’ve just guaranteed another dumping of snow. In fairness to me, the title sounds good and I’m looking at a beautiful sunset out my window, so I couldn’t help but write with a tauntingly cheery attitude. Nevertheless, sorry, my bad.

It’s Sunday and the wind was really kicking up a fuss this morning. I, however, stayed safely inside and, although it was sunny and marginally warmer than it has been in a while, I had no need or intention of going outside for very long. Plus, I was lazy today. That said, if I had to go outside for a while, the wind wouldn’t have been an issue. My balance has steadily improved (pun intended) since my brain injury and I’ve felt solid against the wind for some time, but ever since I’ve taken a keener interest in Pilates and working out with more of a concentration on my core, I’ve really felt confident and stronger on my legs.

I started doing Pilates a year ago and, appropriately enough, my instructor’s husband is a trainer who makes core strength a dominant part of his programs. I’ve always tried to keep in good shape, but since my brain injury almost 10 years ago, it’s been more difficult to actually ‘get to the gym’ or pool since I can’t drive, but walking,family, friends, and the odd taxi have made it happen for me. This way I’ve been able to stay active, get stronger, and, although it’s cliché, it’s made me feel better; about myself and about a lot else as well. Since my brain injury, swimming and working out have been important ways for me to keep some level of fitness, and now Pilates and my new workout regime have provided another challenge, which itself has obvious obstacles, but more importantly, the eventual and consequent results are clear and invaluable.

As you can probably tell, I’m keen on this. The reason I wanted to write about this is not an excuse to compliment myself, I’ve actually got at least three good reasons: 1) To thank and show my support to Sarah and Mike at Pony Locale on Lemarchant Road in St, John’s. Sarah’s the awesome Pilates instructor I mentioned, and Mike is the incredible trainer. Thanks! 2) The physically toughest things I’ve had to deal with since my brain injury have been my walking, balance, and efficient movement. Staying fit and challenging myself have been extremely important for me. From my experience living after a serious brain injury, keeping fit has been one of, if not the best thing I’ve been able to do. Not only does it help me meet physical challenges, it makes me feel good because it allows me to enjoy the other great parts of life. And 3) My mom suggested I write about it. The first two reasons were good, but 3) sealed it.

In the end, what I’m saying is, check out Pony Locale. Being brain injured is tough and it’s more of a challenge for some, it’s relative. Don’t base your perception of how hard you’ve worked on someone else. What does that matter? It’s not easy, but doing nothing is even harder.

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