February 10, 2023
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Working out helps me manage migraine, but making exercise a habit is hard. Here are five types of movement that have helped me stay consistent in my exercise routine.
As a new year begins, so does my list of resolutions. Like many people, I set goals about eating healthier, reading more books, drinking less alcohol, and exercising more. For many of us, these habits will fall by the wayside after a couple of weeks.
If you’re one of those people who can make a goal and stick to it all year long, please share your secrets!
According to research, it takes 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic.
So, how can you keep yourself motivated? Motivation looks different for everyone.
For some, having a daily affirmation can help. Repeating a mantra to yourself every day or taping it up somewhere, such as next to your bathroom mirror where you can read it easily can be helpful.
I try to remind myself that I want to keep up a habit because it ultimately makes me feel better.
Another great way to stay motivated is to have a friend hold you accountable. When you set a goal, see if you have a friend looking to set a similar goal so you can go about it together.
Whether you plan to take up running or eat more vegetables, having a friend with the same goal can help you focus and continue to maintain the habit.
As I enter my 30s, exercise has become more and more of a priority for me. I find myself with lower back issues and frequent migraine attacks.
I’ve found that my migraine episodes increase in frequency when I don’t get enough, high quality sleep. For this reason, maintaining good sleep hygiene is essential for me. Exercise can help improve the quality of your sleep, and help you fall asleep faster.
I also try to focus on exercise that strengthens my core muscles, which can help, strengthen my back.
One of the main reasons I started prioritizing regular exercise is because evidence has shown it can have a positive impact on people living with migraine. Beyond improving your sleep quality, exercise can reduce the frequency of migraine attacks.
Exercise can also reduce stress, which is a common migraine trigger.
Though practices like running, weightlifting, or cycling can be great, these aren’t for everyone. If you’re looking for ways to get moving that are a bit more gentle on your body, there are many good options to investigate.
Exercise may also be a migraine trigger for some people. One study saw that 38% of participants reported experiencing migraine attacks in association with exercise. If you’re prone to exercise-induced migraine, there are ways to move your body without risking an attack.
Here are a few forms of exercise I’ve found to work for me.
Taking regular walks or going for a hike is one of the easiest, least expensive ways to exercise. Hiking doesn’t always mean trekking up a mountain. You can take an easy walk through a park or around your neighborhood.
If you live in a city, finding a nearby green space or park is a good option. There are many state parks throughout the United States that don’t charge entry fees. You can find your closest state parks using resources like this one which lists them by state.
One study found that walking 30 to 45 minutes a day can even help boost your immune system.
Yoga is a great form of physical exercise that can also help your mental health. A study in 2014 found that regular yoga practice could reduce migraine attack symptoms and frequency when added to a treatment regimen.
There are many different styles of yoga so you can find the one that works best for you and your body. If you find yourself unable to make it to an in-person class, you can find a plethora of inexpensive, or even free, resources online.
Pilates is a form of nonaerobic exercise that aims to lengthen and strengthen muscles, without putting stress on the joints or heart. It’s an accessible form of exercise that can be modified for people of all ages and all abilities.
Rock climbing is a great way to exercise if things like running or lifting weights aren’t your thing. Over the past year, I started rock climbing because I was looking for something a little more fun and interactive.
I mostly prefer bouldering which involves shorter routes, either indoors or outdoors, without the need for ropes. Rock climbing with ropes is also a great way to build up your strength.
I enjoy rock climbing because it tricks me into exercising. It feels fun, like I’m trying to solve a puzzle. If you choose to climb outside of a climbing gym, it can also be a great way to explore nature.
There are numerous types of classes online you can take if you prefer to work out at home. Many of them are free which makes them even more accessible.
If you can’t stick with one habit or form of exercise, don’t worry! Getting yourself moving every day for 20 to 30 minutes is the most important part.
You may not be able to always stick to a schedule, whether you’re having a decent health day or not. Things pop up when you least expect them to with work, family, or friends. Or you may wake up and just know that it’s going to be a day of rest.
Making your routine work for you and listening to your body are important. No matter what, when it comes to exercise, remember to be kind to yourself.
Medically reviewed on February 10, 2023
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