What is a migraine? Why migraine happens. Who gets migraines? Treating migraines.

Regular Workouts Keep Migraines Away

Physical exercise has long been known to act as a trigger for migraine headaches. But now, a new study has found that a specific exercise regimen consisting of aerobic cycling is not only well-tolerated among migraine sufferers, but serves to reduce the incidence, duration, and intensity of the headaches. More to the point, the quality of life of the migraine patient appears to undergo a dramatic improvement with this novel exercise routine.

Aerobic Exercise

The researchers of this recent study subjected a number of migraine sufferers to physical examination prior to, during, and after an aerobic exercise regimen. The focus of the workout program, which was designed for this study, centered on indoor cycling. This type of exercise provides a steady aerobic workout. The intent behind the exercise program was to maximize oxygen uptake without exacerbating the symptoms of migraine headaches.

It was found that by the end of the study, the maximum oxygen uptake of the participants had risen significantly. At no time during the course of the study was there any increase in migraine symptoms, and in fact, during the final month of the trial, there was a considerable reduction in the number of migraine attacks. In addition to these surprising results, participants reported fewer days of migraines per month. Even when participants did experience migraines, their symptoms were less severe and the subjects were able to cut back on their migraine medications.

Physical Maintenance

Migraine sufferers tend to avoid exercise because traditional exercise programs aggravate the symptoms of migraine. Because they engage in little physical activity, sufferers become out of shape, displaying less physical endurance and agility. The researchers behind the study believe that better designed exercise programs should be an integral part of the life of the migraine sufferer, both for general physical maintenance and for fewer migraines of lesser duration and intensity.

Emma Varkey, a co-author of the study said, “While the optimal amount of exercise for patients with migraine remains unknown, our evaluated program can now be tested further and compared to pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments to see if exercise can prevent migraine.”

Migraine is a neurological condition that can be accompanied by various symptoms such as headache, nausea, and changes in how the body perceives the senses. The condition strikes more women than men. The word migraine comes from the Old English word "megrim" meaning "severe headache," and from the Greek word "hemicrania" or "half skull."