How Exercise Helps with Migraines

How Exercise Helps with Migraines

The last thing anyone would want to do when their head is pounding is to walk, run, or workout. The only good idea you can give someone with a migraine or incessant headaches is asking them to lie down in a quiet, almost dark room. But, it would appear that working out could help with the migraines – hard pill to swallow, no?

Well, the good news is that you can only engage in simple and low-demanding exercise routines. As all medical experts and health Canada consultants agree – working out could be the biggest game changer in the medical field. Besides helping you lose weight and stay fit, exercising regularly lowers stress, boosts mood, lowers blood pressure, and it also improves your metabolism while regulating hormones and lowering your risk of heart diseases. Working out also boosts energy, and it could be one thing that boosts your productivity. Of course, many other benefits come with exercising, but today, we focus on how exercising could help in the treatment and management of migraines.

As mentioned above, exercise is that last quip you want to hear when you have a throbbing, blinding, and nauseating migraine, but studies show that exercises, however, even when light could help with migraines.


According to findings by the American Migraine Foundation, AMF, working out not only forces you to sweat, but it also reduces the frequency of migraines and also the intensity of the migraines when they hit. The study revealed that working out for 40 minutes, three times weekly was quite effective in the prevention of a migraine attack as taking your prescribed medication.

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This effectiveness comes from the fact that when you exercise, your body releases a hormone and a lipid molecule, endorphins and endocannabinoids, respectively. These molecules reduce pain naturally and also boost mood. Also, exercising is good stress bursting activity that, in turn, improves your sleep, reducing the frequency of the migraine attacks.

Everything in moderation

Note, however, that some exercises (headache exercises) trigger migraines/ headaches, which is why you want to start with aerobic exercises like cycling, jogging, swimming, dancing, and brisk walking. These activities are not too strenuous, and you don’t have to worry about worsening the headache or triggering another episode.

Don’t rush it

It’s also important to note that you should never start or stop your workout session abruptly. Warm up to your workout with stretching exercises for about 10 minutes before and after the workout session.

Consistency is vital

If you want the exercise to help in the management of the migraines, you should be consistent. Every little move is important, as long as you keep at it: workout at least three times a week.


Besides working out, you can reduce your migraine attacks’ frequency and intensity through meditation. All you need to do it to learn mindful meditation and practice it for a few minutes every day.


Whether you’re getting ready for a workout session or not, you must always eat a healthy diet. Your meals should be nourishing, and you must be hydrated, always.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that each workout or training regimen you take up should be geared towards boosting your cardio-respiratory endurance, flexibility, and your muscular strength/ endurance.

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