(NaturalNews) Along with sleep deprivation and stress, scientists have long known that sudden, high-intensity exercise can trigger migraines. Migraines are attributed to cerebral blood vessels going through phases of constriction and dilation, stretching the nerves around them. This stretching of the nerves causes them to send pain signals, equating to migraines. Sudden high-intensity exercise is hypothesized to trigger migraines by dilating these blood vessels. Recent research has demonstrated that a steady warm-up and cool-down along with continuous aerobic exercise can actually help individuals increase their exercise capacity without increasing the duration and frequency of migraines.
It's imperative for living a healthy life that everyone exercise to improve their functional strength, heart health, body mass index... etc., but many individuals experience debilitating migraines after strenuous workouts. More than half of the respondents in a survey conducted at a Dutch headache clinic reported that they quit performing the sport or exercise that triggered the migraines. Scientists and migraine sufferers alike have been looking for a method to remain physically fit without increasing their frequency of migraines.
One method found for decreasing the frequency of migraines that accompany exercise is through continuous aerobic exercise. A 2009 study published in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain was the first to demonstrate that untrained individuals can increase their exercise capacity through continuous aerobic exercise (indoor cycling was used for this study) without suffering an increase in migraines that normally accompany exercise. The aerobic workout employed in the study had subjects performing a 15-minute light-intensity warm-up, followed by 20 minutes of hard/high-intensity continuous aerobic exercise and finished with a light-intensity 5-minute cool-down. This 40-minute workout allowed the patients to significantly improve their exercise capacity while avoiding the accompanying migraines.
The only downside to the study was its relatively small sample size: only 26 participants. Recently, a large scale study with 80 participants was launched in Calgary, Canada, to get a better understanding of the effects that aerobic exercise has on migraines, and that should wrap up in the second half of 2014, providing a more definitive look at this issue. Sample size issues aside, there is increasing indication that aerobic exercise can help you avoid exercise-induced migraines. Along with a steady warm-up and cool-down, performing continuous aerobic exercise can increase an individual's exercise capacity, improving their overall health and quality of life without inducing more migraines.
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