Migraine and Exercise: Workouts For Migraine Pain Relief

What if we told you that there’s a natural way to ease the migraine pain?
Incorporating exercise into your routine might just be the key to managing those debilitating migraines. In this article, we’ll delve into the relationship between migraines and exercise, exploring effective workout strategies that can provide relief. Whether you’re a seasoned fitness enthusiast or just starting on your wellness journey, these insights can make a significant difference in your migraine experience.

The Migraine-Exercise Connection

It might seem counterintuitive to think that exercise could help with migraines, especially when physical activity can sometimes trigger headaches in those susceptible. However, research suggests that when approached strategically, exercise can have profound benefits for migraine sufferers.

Migraines are often linked to changes in blood flow to the brain and inflammation. Regular exercise can help improve blood circulation, reduce inflammation, and release endorphins, natural painkillers that contribute to an improved mood. But how do you strike the right balance between exertion and relief? Let’s explore some effective workout approaches.

Tailored Workouts for Migraine Relief

  1. Aerobic Exercises: Engaging in moderate aerobic activities like brisk walking, swimming, or cycling can boost your cardiovascular health and help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.
  2. Yoga and Stretching: Gentle yoga and stretching routines can promote relaxation, improve flexibility, and ease muscle tension – all of which contribute to lowering migraine symptoms.
  3. S: Incorporating light to moderate strength training can enhance muscle tone, improve posture, and potentially reduce stress-induced migraines.
  4. Mindfulness Practices: Activities like Tai Chi and Qigong combine movement and meditation, aiding in stress reduction and overall well-being.
  5. Hydration-Focused Workouts: Water aerobics or swimming can be particularly beneficial, as they keep you hydrated while providing a low-impact exercise environment.

It’s important to remember that every individual’s migraine triggers and tolerance to exercise can vary. The key is to start gradually, listen to your body, and consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your routine. Maintaining consistency is crucial; irregular workouts might not yield the desired results.

A few examples to get you started right away

  1. Aerobic Exercises: Brisk Walking
    • Find a comfortable and safe place to walk, whether it’s outdoors or on a treadmill.
    • Start with a gentle warm-up by walking at a normal pace for 5 minutes.
    • Gradually increase your speed to a brisk pace, where you can still hold a conversation but feel slightly out of breath.
    • Aim for a 30-minute brisk walk, and then slow down your pace for a 5-minute cooldown.
    • Remember to maintain good posture and engage your core muscles while walking.
  2. Yoga and Stretching: Child’s Pose
    • Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
    • Sit back on your heels, lowering your hips toward your feet.
    • Extend your arms forward on the mat, lowering your torso between your thighs.
    • Relax your forehead on the mat and let your body sink into the stretch.
    • Breathe deeply and hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
    • To come out of the pose, gently walk your hands back and sit up on your heels.
  3. Strength Training: Bodyweight Squats
    • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward.
    • Engage your core muscles and keep your chest up.
    • Lower your hips down and back as if you’re sitting in an imaginary chair.
    • Keep your knees aligned with your toes and ensure they don’t go past your toes.
    • Lower down until your thighs are parallel to the ground or as far as comfortable.
    • Push through your heels to return to the standing position.
    • Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
  4. Mindfulness Practices: Tai Chi Flow
    • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms relaxed at your sides.
    • Begin with slow, controlled breaths, focusing on your inhales and exhales.
    • As you inhale, raise your arms in front of you, palms facing down.
    • As you exhale, bring your arms down to your sides.
    • Continue this flowing motion, coordinating your breath with your movements.
    • Imagine energy flowing through your body with each breath and movement.
    • Practice for 10-15 minutes to promote relaxation.
  5. Hydration-Focused Workouts: Water Aerobics
    • Find a pool that’s suitable for water aerobics (shoulder-deep water is ideal).
    • Start with a gentle warm-up by walking or marching in the water for a few minutes.
    • Perform exercises like leg lifts, arm circles, and jumping jacks in the water.
    • Focus on controlled movements that engage your muscles while providing resistance from the water.
    • Stay hydrated by sipping water during breaks.
    • Aim for a 20-30 minute session, gradually increasing the intensity as you feel comfortable.

Remember to listen to your body and make modifications as needed. If you’re new to these exercises or have specific health concerns, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise routine.

FAQs: Migraine and Exercise

  1. How does exercise help with migraines?
    Exercise can improve blood circulation, reduce inflammation, release endorphins, and help manage stress – all of which contribute to minimizing migraine frequency and intensity.
  2. What are some pre-workout tips for migraine sufferers?
    Stay hydrated, eat a light snack before exercising, and ensure you’re not overly fatigued. Gradually warm up to prevent sudden exertion.
  3. Are there specific exercises to avoid?
    High-impact, jarring exercises might trigger migraines. Consult your healthcare provider to determine which exercises suit your condition.
  4. How often should I exercise to see results?
    Consistency is key. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week, combined with strength training and relaxation techniques.
  5. Can relaxation techniques alone help with migraines?
    While they might not provide a complete solution, relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness can contribute to migraine management.
  6. Are there certain yoga poses to avoid during a migraine?
    Inverted poses and those requiring intense neck flexion might worsen migraine symptoms. Stick to gentle, restorative poses.
  7. Can I exercise during a migraine attack?
    It’s generally recommended to avoid intense exercise during an attack. Gentle stretches, deep breathing, and relaxation can be more beneficial.
  8. What’s the role of hydration in managing migraines through exercise?
    Staying hydrated supports overall health and can help prevent exercise-induced migraines. Drink water before, during, and after workouts.
  9. Are there specific dietary considerations for exercise-induced migraines?
    Certain foods, like those high in caffeine or artificial additives, might trigger migraines. Maintain a balanced diet and identify personal triggers.
  10. Can exercise completely replace migraine medication?
    Exercise can complement a migraine management plan but might not eliminate the need for medication, especially for chronic sufferers.
  11. How can I track the impact of exercise on my migraines?
    Consider using a migraine tracking app like MigraineBuddy to monitor changes in frequency, intensity, and triggers.
  12. Is it safe to exercise if I have other health conditions alongside migraines?
    If you have coexisting health conditions, consult your healthcare provider before starting an exercise regimen to ensure it’s appropriate for you.


Jenny from Migraine Buddy

You Will Also Like

Back to Blog

Leave your mobile to get a link to download the app