Exercise Is Healthy, but with Migraines?
We're often told that we need to exercise for better health; told that our Migraines and headaches would improve if we exercise. We all understand that, BUT how are we to exercise when we feel as if our heads might explode? Good question!
We've learned that Migraine is a disease that needs to be managed. Part of good Migraine management is working toward good health.
When someone tells us to exercise, rather than saying, "I can't," lets say, "We can't yet, but will find a way." Instead of getting discouraged, frustrated, or angry when exercise is suggested, let's look at some ways we CAN exercise without messing up our heads. Most of us will never become marathon runners; many of us will never be able to exercise to the extent that many of our friends can. But you know what? One of the sentences I truly hate is, "I can't." I don't like anyone telling me I can't do something. I refuse to let Migraines tell me I can't do something if there's any way possible to do it. How about you?
One helpful thing about exercise is that a little is far, far better than none. So, on days when I had Migraines, I experimented to see what I could do without making my head feel worse. I also looked for some really easy forms of exercise to do on days without Migraines. Then I talked with a couple of exercise physiologists to see if what I had come up with would be beneficial.
From me to you, here are 10 ways to "sneak in" some exercise...
1. Just Stretch.
Careful, gentle stretching feels good and is good for us. Stand with your feet shoulders width apart. Slowly bring one arm up over your head and bend at the waist the opposite direction. Repeat the other direction. Gently bend forward at the waist. If your balance is good, put one foot on a chair and bend your knee to stretch in. These may be done holding a chair if balance is a problem. You can also do stretches sitting. If your balance is good, stretching in a hot shower is great! Another simple stretch can be accomplished by sitting on the floor with your legs out straight in front of you. Bend forward and grasp your legs, as close to your ankles as you can. Don't bounce. Just grasp, hold a few counts, release and sit up straight. Take your time and repeat as many times as you can...
There are nine more. Yes, some are a bit silly, but they work. Please join my in 10 Ways for Migraineurs to Sneak in Some Exercise.
Medical review by John Claude Krusz, PhD, MD.