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Running into Migraines

Exercise is good for you. Being fit will help your whole body feel better, including your migraines, right? So why did your headache specialist just tell you to drop out of this weekend’s 10K if you want to be able to go to work on Monday? A regular exercise program is a great migraine deterrent, but it needs to be the right kind of exercise. Many workout types put a real strain on the cardiovascular system and scientists have linked migraines to vascular problems in the temporal artery, among other potential causes. Migraineurs who want to sweat need to warm up, slowly, for about fifteen minutes prior to any strenuous exertion, whether it is exercise or home repair. Skipping this warm up is nearly a guarantee that a migraine will be interrupting your plans later in the day. While any exertion can be good or bad and each migraineur is different, there are a few types of exercise that are notorious for bringing down the head.

* Aerobics: high-intensity aerobics classes are a trigger for many women, especially when the cardio-pounding workout is paired with loud music. * Biking: Whether it is competitive cycling or spinning class at the club, this is a major trigger for many. * Running: Any kind of running that involves hard-core exertion, especially endurance events like marathons and triathlons. You may be able to keep doing these things, especially if you really enjoy them, but you need to think about toning down the endurance aspect. Cycling should be for pleasure and exercise but not competitive.

Replace high impact aerobics classes with dance, yoga, or free weight aerobics. Reduce the distance you run and see if it helps with the migraines. There is no reason a migraineur cannot be fit, just do not run yourself into a migraine.


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