According to the Migraine Research Foundation—one of the most well known organizations devoted to raising money for migraine research and educating the public about migraines—over 38 million Americans have suffered, at some time, from migraines.
Contrary to popular belief, a migraine is not just a bad headache; instead, it is a neurological disease that is chronic, often debilitating, but treatable. In fact, it is the sixth most disabling disease in the world, and one in ten people suffers from migraines, which means there’s a very good chance that you or someone you know suffers from this painful condition. The exact cause(s) of migraines is still unknown, and it’s one of the most misunderstood, misdiagnosed and mistreated diseases in the country. Many migraine sufferers find themselves hiding out in a dark room or taking pain medication until the pain eases enough for them to function again. But there’s a much better way to combat the pain associated with migraines.
There is one activity that has proven to be effective in reducing the pain associated with migraines—exercise. Something so simple, that can be done at home, at work and on the go, can improve the lives of those who suffer with migraines and reduce the number of lost days each year due to the debilitating effects of this neurological disorder.
How exercise helps with migraines is actually quite simple. When we exercise, our body releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. Exercise reduces stress and helps individuals to sleep at night, but how does that help with migraines exactly? Stress and inadequate sleep are two migraine triggers, so by exercising regularly (just 30 minutes five times a week), you have done a large part in removing two of the most common triggers of migraines.
Exercise Benefits & Suggestions for Beginners
A good exercise regimen will address these three components:
- Cardio-respiratory endurance
- Muscular strength
Be sure to start slowly when beginning any exercise schedule, especially if you are overweight and/or have health issues, and be sure to consult a medical professional before beginning an exercise regimen, especially if you have heart disease, diabetes, pulmonary disease or a history of bone, ligament, or tendon injuries.
Also, it’s crucial to stretch before exercising as you can do serious damage to your muscles if you exercise without warming up first. If you’re not a big fan of exercise, please keep in mind that simply walking for 30 minutes a day is one of the most highly recommended ways to improve cardio-vascular endurance, muscle strength and flexibility.
If you want to walk year-round regardless of the weather, there are many affordable treadmills on the market today that will provide you the opportunity to exercise any time day or night, during cold winter months and during the heat and humidity of summer. Additionally, taking a stroll on an Anti-Gravity Treadmill® can help ease the impact on joints as you get your regimen started. Fortunately, there are thousands of AlterG’s around the country, available for your use. Consider purchasing a session or two on an AlterG®. You can find the AlterG that’s closest to you on our Zip Code Locator.
Release those endorphins and reduce the pain of migraines by putting on your favorite pair of walking shoes and hitting the treadmill today!