My neurologist has been telling me for years that if I want to get to the root of my migraine attacks, I should do four things:
•Keep up with my water intake daily
•Manage my stress levels
•Exercise a few times a week
•Take daily vitamins
If I am being honest with you, I find it quite challenging to do so. As simple as that list seems when I read it out loud, I cannot find it in me to check these tasks off my list on a regular basis, even though I know I should. Even though I acknowledge that it would be beneficial to my mind, body, and soul…
I still struggle.
Self-care just doesn’t come organically—not when I juggle self-care along with family and work! How sad is that to admit?! I literally must force myself into action. But, thankfully, I have a little support.
You should talk to your doctor about what plan works best for you and utilize resources like periodic migraine attack updates from No Time 4 Migraines to better understand different types of migraine attacks. Having said that, I have a feeling that staying active will be part of your solution as well.
When we move, we gain benefits that are well beyond the physical. Exercise truly helps our minds! It calms mine, that’s for sure. In fact, I find that when I exercise I notice fewer migraine attacks on average—and that’s a good thing. No, that’s a great thing!
Workout Idea #1: Weave Workouts into Your Schedule
So, what kind of exercises do I weave into my world?
I wish I were someone who does CrossFit or Orange Theory, but those regimes are a bit too extreme for my taste. Instead, I focus on barre classes, some at the gym and some at home.
Barre is my favorite exercise to do—PERIOD. If you haven’t taken a class yet, I highly suggest you find a local one and get there FAST. There isn’t a lot of cardio, but your body will change in just a few weeks. True results.
Not ready to commit to a gym yet?
No problem! There are plenty of YouTube videos online that will show you how to use your house (think kitchen island, dining room chairs, staircases) to participate in this energized yet focused training.
And speaking of clearing the mind: when I am focusing on myself, I notice that for that hour my mind is completely clear. I’m not manically rumbling through my to-do list. I’m just concentrating on holding a pose and being present and in the moment. We all need to check back into the present every now and then. Exercise is the gift that truly keeps giving.
I know you are just getting started, so just in case you should experience a migraine during one of your workouts, here are some helpful tips.
• Immediately stop working out
• Find a place to rest and sit down for a moment. Collect yourself.
• Hydrate. Be sure to drink water because exercise can dehydrate your body quickly.
• Head home and lay down in a cool, dark place. Close your eyes and rest.
•If you are under a doctor’s care, consider taking medication.
Workout Idea #2: Get Up And Go
Take it from someone that doesn’t like to run, you need a running partner that is on your level and speed. Trust me! Commit to an amount of time or distance and just GO. Whenever the weather is nice, my friend typically forces me out of my home and we hit the pavement for a few miles. Sometimes we talk… sometimes we can’t talk. Either way, we are doing it together and I know it’s helping my mental state.
If you suffer from migraines, it is critical that you get up and go.
You don’t have to necessarily hit the pavement running. But step outside once the weather begins to turn and go for a nice walk – maybe during your lunch break. Start small. Give your body and mind time to reap the rewards that exercise offers. Nothing will happen overnight, but in time you will find that the amount of migraines you experience will change.
If you are going out for a run, be sure to carry the following items with you to help minimize the risk of a migraine:
• Sunglasses or hat: Truthfully, I can only wear a hat because the sunglasses feel uncomfortable on my face when I jog. This is a preference, though. I see plenty of people running around with sunnies!
• Water: Stay hydrated – it is KEY!!
• Phone: Just in case you do get a migraine, you might need to call for help. Always carry your phone with you just in case.
• Nutrition bar: I find that sometimes when I don’t eat enough, a migraine can creep up on me. Carry a bar with you on your run or at least leave it in your car.
Miles for Migraines
Looking for a way to stay fit and to help promote migraine awareness and research? Check out Miles for Migraine Run and Walk event in Phoenix on March 18th and the Miles for Migraine Education Day event in Philadelphia on March 25th. These programs both started as local events and have now grown to expand to more cities throughout the country. I just love it! We need more people talking about migraine education and funding migraine research. You can be a small part of it all by participating in Miles for Migraine in the coming months!
How do you exercise to manage your migraine attacks? What do you do when you get one in the middle of a workout? Sign up to the mailing list on No Time 4 Migraines to answer questions like these and get in-depth insights on living with and managing migraine attacks.
I’m sharing my personal migraine story in partnership with Promius Pharma as a paid spokesperson. The story, thoughts, and opinions above are expressly my own.
FOR PHYSICIANS: Click here for a free kit to help your patients identify migraine symptoms.