Monday, 9 July 2012

Migraine and exercise

Migraine Mum is trying to get fit (I'm not in this clip by the way!). I have ulterior motives....I am now 41 yrs old and have raised cholesterol. Suddenly I can't eat what I want. I also seem to have an abscence of any muscles in the tummy area and on a bad day, I can look about 5 months pregnant. (yes, someone asked me recently if I was expecting again !!!!!!)  I blame my 3 children entirely for this but I can honestly say, they have now come to my rescue.......I LOVE THE Wii!!! I play it more than they do now!

When I have a spare moment, I get myself togged up in my lycra and turn the old wii on for a bit of a prance around the lounge. Admittedly at the beginning I was rubbish, (0% technique!!!) but I got better especially when I realised that many of my groovy moves were being hampered by various things on the floor: lego, toy dogs, marbles, and someones' pants (yuk, child no 3 seems to have an adversion to wearing any).

I am now a Zumba Master!! And you can see from the clip above that any age, size or shape can do it. BUT I'm having to be careful, as exercise seems to trigger migraines.......what I have realised is that at the moment, it probably makes my brain a little over excited!! So I need to find what my limit is and gradually increase it to 30 mins. At the moment, I can do about 15 mins I think without triggering a migraine. But not every day either!!

Research backs this up, saying irregular bursts of activity can make migraines worse but regular exercise can be of great benefit in terms of endorphins and enkephalins. These are the hormones released during exercise that can make you feel good and can, according to research, help in the control of pain AND frequency of migraine.

What I find hard is that I have so many migraines (1-3 a week) and quite understandably, I don't feel able to do exercise......even post migraine my body hurts amd my energy levels are so low, and climbing the stairs to change into my lycra can seem too much. Couple this with the demands of children and the inconsistent life they can produce through not sleeping (who feels like dancing on 3 hours sleep?!), one of them being ill (no space to do those extra "me" things), or child no 3 clinging onto my leg while I try to dance (my right leg muscles are amazing!) seems almost impossible to create that regular time for exercise that seems to be so essential!

I know that I'm not quite at that stage in which exercise is beneficial. There are obviously no quick fixes for a chronic illness but gradual life changes which together help to contribute to a better management of this demanding neurological disease. Us migraine mums need commitment and perseverance. Being mum and being a migraineur can make exercise seem like an impossibility. But as they say "where there is a will (or a wii), there is a way!" Good luck!

PS: As part of the gradual changes I mentioned, I have been doing the relaxation session every day at night time since my last blog. I have found two good ones on and an app called Stop Panic and Anxiety (free) which also has a visualisation for children.

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