Exercise & Migraines
Who here has experienced a migraine or severe headache in their lifetime?
🙋🏻♀️ I tend to have regular headaches and occasional migraines connected to my menstrual cycle, extreme light, or lack of sleep.
Migraines affect everyone differently but i'm sure we can all agree they can be quite unbearable. They can be completely debilitating requiring a cool flannel over your face, in complete darkness & silence, in a horizontal position, or sometimes they are there banging away but we strive to work through them (in agony). Sometimes we don't have a choice.
- So for those of you who suffer with migraine or severe headaches I hope this post will be helpful and help guide you when in doubt about exercising and migraines! - The relationship between exercise and migraines is mostly a very positive one! Studies have shown that regular weekly exercise can help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines. When we exercise it stimulates the body to release feel-good endorphins and enkephalins which act as "natural painkillers and anti-depressants". This helps to reduce stress and the physical exertion of exercise can aid better sleep too, reducing two of the most common migraine triggers! Winner, winner.😅 - On migraine/pain free days when you are exercising make sure you:
Keep hydrated. Dehydration can be a trigger.
Keep cool. Overheating can be a trigger.
Warm + cool down gradually. Jumping into rapid, intense exercise too quickly can trigger a migraine.
Watch your posture during exercise. Ensure you are not holding extra tension in your neck and shoulders.
At least 30 minutes of planned exercise is recommended 3-5 times a week. - As a general guideline I would NOT recommend exercising during a migraine when you are in pain as exercise can increase the pain and discomfort which no one wants. - When your pain eases and you feel the migraine is losing its grip on you, gentle exercise can help to ward off the migraine by relieving stress. - My favourite gentle exercise regimes include; walking, stretching, pilates, yoga, swimming and non-impact bodyweight exercises. - Everyones body is different so please listen to your own when it's talking to you!