Do you suffer from headaches? Discover how physical exercise can help you to fight this problem.
A recent study has proven that regular physical exercise can help reduce headache attacks and even migraine. The results of the research conducted by neurologists from UFSC and Unifesp show that people who do not exercise have 43% more migraine headaches and 100% more headache (headache) than those who practice physical activities.
Therefore, it is possible that when you visit your doctor to treat your migraine or chronic headache problem, you may be given a prescription for exercise. Why, after all, can exercise help with migraine pain?
When you engage in physical activity, your body releases endorphins. Endorphin is a hormone that promotes a feeling of well-being, and as such, it ends up acting like “natural morphine”, i.e., a natural painkiller.
Thus, if you exercise frequently, you are less likely to suffer from headaches and migraines than a sedentary person.
Other benefits of physical activity include the release of epinephrine and steroids that can also help reduce pain. In addition, physical activity promotes blood circulation, which leads to increased oxygenation in the brain and a consequent reduction in headaches.
Exercises that help reduce headaches
Exercises, either physical or relaxing, are great allies to treat migraine. It has been proven that physical activities, especially moderate ones, are a way to combat the symptoms of intense headaches.
Aerobic exercises are the most effective, and relaxation practices are also great allies. This is because physical exercise helps the brain’s production of endorphin and serotonin.
These hormones are responsible for reducing stress, besides acting as anesthetics for the body itself. In this way it is possible to achieve relaxation and a sense of well-being without the need to use medication.
Thus, by exercising, the body will produce more substances, providing well-being and reducing the chances of migraine symptoms developing.
It is important to emphasize the need to always seek a neurologist to decide which activity is best for your type of migraine, so that the result is most effective. Some recommendations may be:
Walking is a great option because it involves no financial expense and is a way to enjoy the outdoors and relax from stress.
It is recommended for most cases, from stress-related to those involving genetic and hormonal issues.
Meditation is becoming increasingly popular. This practice has benefits for both body and mind. In cases of intense headaches, it is recommended more for cases related to stress and anxiety.
It is also indicated for hormonal cases, since intense exercise can be a trigger for migraine manifestation.
Because it is a more intense exercise, it is necessary to evaluate if this activity can be a trigger for those who have headaches, from a more intense physical effort. However, it is an activity that can relieve stress and anxiety.
Yoga is an activity that requires concentration, which can be great for those with frequent stress and anxiety.
Pilates has become increasingly popular and surprising. This activity is great not only for relieving headaches, but also provides physical health benefits.
Stretching is essential for muscle relaxation. Therefore, it is important even for those who do other physical activities.
Weight-training is one of the most popular physical activities; however, many people don’t like to do it. One of the strategies is to mix this exercise with other activities, so that the practice of exercises remains constant.
It’s important to point out that for each type of migraine, it’s necessary to treat it with a different exercise. This is because, for tension-related headache cases, more intense exercises can be a great option.
However, the activity to be done must be chosen and performed with the help and supervision of a physical educator so that you do not damage your health in search of the reduction of these pains.
It is also important to be aware that doing physical activity once a week will not make much difference. For you to benefit from these practices, it is necessary that the frequency is at least two to three times a week, lasting between half an hour and an hour.
5 steps to achieve positive results with exercise training
- Take care of your hydration before, during, and after the practice of physical activity. Make sure your mouth isn’t getting excessively dry and that you’re not sweating too much, which is a sign of severe fluid loss. Dehydration is a major factor in triggering migraine attacks.
- Eat something light about an hour before exercising. During exercise, our blood glucose level drops, so it’s important to make sure you have a good source of energy. Protein bars and almonds or nuts are good pre-workout snacks.
- Warming up is another key part of physical activity for migraine patients. Don’t start jumping around or moving suddenly without first preparing your body for the exertion it will be subjected to. An example: brisk walking for 5 minutes.
- If you are not in the habit of exercising, start carefully and lightly. Increase the load, duration, or intensity as you get used to the activity. In general, the benefits begin to be noticed in about six weeks.
- Respect your body; be aware of the answers it gives you.
These tips are also important for people who don’t have migraine and are trying to minimize the risk of headaches during the activity. They are also important measures for anyone who is going to exercise: medical evaluation, guidance from specialized professionals, and the use of appropriate clothing and shoes. If you feel any discomfort, stop exercising immediately.