Manage Your Exercise to Manage Your Migraines

exercise and migraines
If you’ve already been diagnosed as a migraine sufferer, then you probably know why exercise in between migraine attacks is good for you. It improves blood circulation which always leads to less pain.

Manage Your Exercise to Manage Your Migraines

If you’ve already been diagnosed as a migraine sufferer, then you probably know why exercise in between migraine attacks is good for you. It improves blood circulation which always leads to less pain.

It also loosens tense muscles and alleviates stress, which is a notorious migraine trigger. Regular exercise helps regulate your sleep so that you can get 7-8 hours of good-quality rest.

However, there is such a thing as a workout-induced migraine. Since these are among the easiest migraines to avoid, implement the following tips to keep the vicious pain at bay.

1. Humidity

Hot, humid weather is known to trigger migraines. If you live in an area that is particularly muggy, you may want to move all your exercise indoors to a gym. If you don’t like the machines, take a class or two. Yoga and Pilates are rooted in calm movement with an emphasis on breathing which may be more soothing to the migraine-prone than running on the treadmill.

2. Sunlight

You may want to take your exercise indoors if you are sensitive to sunlight. But if you enjoy the outdoors, or your exercise regime involves animals (like walking the dog or dogs), wear a good pair of sunglasses. It’s actually good for you to get a bit of morning sun to keep your Vitamin D levels healthy.

However, your priority here is to avoid migraines. So, monitor how much sunlight affects you. If your workout triggers migraines even under a pale early-morning sun, you have to think seriously about giving up your outdoor activities.

 

3. Type of exercise

This matters a lot. You may enjoy a morning run, but the sudden movement could set off a migraine. Weightlifting has been known to trigger migraines in sufferers. However, it’s usually the heavy weights and exertion that’s to blame.

Working out with light weights to strengthen your neck, shoulder and upper arms is beneficial and prevents migraines because it helps to get the blood flowing.

Any kind of gym routine/sport where you suddenly have to lift a heavy weight is inadvisable. Tennis is one example. You probably won’t have to run as fast if you just play socially, but you’re likely to make sudden movements of the head in order to return a serve.

Surprisingly, swimming is also on this list. Although it’s a low-impact exercise, it is nevertheless a strenuous one. If you notice that you get headaches after a few laps, you know there’s a link.

The above are not recommended exercises but that does not mean you cannot do them. It all comes down to what affects you. Since several other factors go into managing your migraines, you may just be able to continue with your favorite exercises if the pain and other symptoms are kept in check.
 
 



4. Altitude

Be aware of how high you are above sea level. If you take a vacation in the mountains, you will very likely have to change your exercise routine. Higher altitudes mean lower oxygen levels, which can set off head pain and nausea, which can then spin into a migraine.

Before you go, consult your family physician (or a medical practitioner who knows your history with migraines) about suitable exercises. Don’t forget to take a kit of home remedies with you, as well as migraine gear like a sleeping mask and good earplugs.

To conclude, do remember that exercise makes you feel good and helps to mitigate migraines. Learn to love it because the stress arising from your unwillingness to exercise may in itself be part of the cause of your migraine.

Use your experience, judgment and instinct. Try different kinds of exercises and when you hit upon one that you like and that doesn’t trigger a migraine, go for it and you’ll find yourself getting fit willingly and enjoyably.
 
 
As Always….To YOUR HEALTH!