R regular exercise comes with plenty of perks — from feeling more connected to your body to the euphoria of runner’s high (it’s real, we promise). It can even reduce your chances of having a headache or migraine. But, it can also have the opposite effect and cause a whopper of a head banger, too. While experts aren’t completely sure what causes them, some of us tend to be more susceptible.
“They are more common in individuals who also experience migraines,” says Rashmi B. Halker Singh, MD FAHS, headache neurologist at Mayo Clinic. In a study published in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, women disproportionately experienced more migraines than men.
Exercise for This Many Minutes for a Longer Life
A new study published in the journal Circulation has found that bursts of exercise as short as twelve minutes can increase your life expectancy.The study, conducted by researchers at the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, looked at the levels of hundreds of different metabolites in 411 middle-aged men and women before and after about twelve minutes of strenuous exercise. They found that the amount of DMGV, a biomarker linked to increased risk of diabetes and fatty liver disease, dropped 18 percent. Similarly, Glutamate, which is associated with heart disease, diabetes, and shorter life expectancy, decreased 29 percent.
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Exertion headaches usually occur during or right after an activity that causes tension in the abdominal muscles or increased pressure in the chest from straining during heavy lifting, sneezing, and sexual intercourse. There are two types of exercise headaches: primary and secondary. “Primary meaning there is no known underlying cause and secondary meaning there is an identifiable cause,” says Zubair Ahmed, MD, assistant professor of Medicine at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine Director of Headache Research and Outcomes. Sufferers of primary headaches can experience pulsating and throbbing pain throughout their entire head lasting anywhere between five minutes and 48 hours, though primary headaches are usually short. But if this is your first time experiencing this type of headache, check in with your physician because secondary headaches can be linked to other underlying causes. “It is important to rule out things such as tumors, cerebral bleeding, vascular abnormalities including cerebral aneurysms or abnormal connections between the arteries and veins, and abnormal constriction of the blood vessels, so that they can be treated,” says Ahmed.
The Easiest Way to Stay Fit Right Now, Say Experts
A recent study found that 30 to 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity is enough to stay fit when you're sitting at home all day.A recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine examines how different combinations of sedentary time and physical activity affect mortality. The study found that 30 to 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) is enough to basically eliminate the association between sedentary time and risk of death.
Before you lose motivation to head to your Zumba class, keep in mind that there are some steps you can take to decrease their occurrence. While a secondary headache needs to be treated, primary exercise-induced headaches usually clear up on their own and you can try the following to keep them at bay:
Hydration is no joke. Make sure to have enough fluids before, after and during all workouts. According to the American Migraine Association (AMF), about a third of those with a migraine say that dehydration led to it. If you feel one coming on, simply drinking a glass of water may stop a full-blown episode.
Stick to a well-balanced diet of protein and carbs, and avoid refined sugars. Your body needs fuel to work out effectively and eating poorly can cause sugar highs and lows. These fluctuations can cause your head to pound.
Ease into your workouts by warming up your body and slowly increasing your heart rate. Start your regimen by walking at a slow pace for about five minutes, then slowly graduate to a jog or stretching. Going from zero to ten on the treadmill in 30 seconds may end up causing more harm than good.
The 32 Best Workout Apps So You Can Exercise Anywhere
Up your fitness game with these downloads.That’s why we’ve compiled this list to help take out the guesswork so you can spend less time deciding on an app and more time trying it out. There are apps on here for every kind of exerciser, whether you’re looking to start running (or train for a race, whenever those may be held again), get stronger by lifting weights, or incorporate some gentle, restorative movement like yoga into your routine. And if you’re not really sure, that’s perfectly fine, too: Many of these apps are free or offer a trial period so you can test them out before you commit to see if that kind of exercise is for you.
Watch the weather
Exercise indoors when it is warm and humid outside, because researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that weather can influence headache pain. After they looked at the ER visits of over 7,000 patients — who ultimately received a headache diagnosis — it was reported that there was a 7.5 percent higher risk of severe headache with each temperature increase of nine degrees Fahrenheit.
Pop a pill
Try taking a prophylactic drug a few minutes to an hour before exertion. “Certain prescription medications (such as indomethacin or propranolol) beforehand can help,” says Singh. You can also try an over the counter anti-inflammatory such as naproxen. The AMF suggests taking them 30 minutes to an hour before exercise to prevent a primary exertion headache.
If you’ve taken these precautions but you’re still prone to exercise-induced headaches, it may be a sign of something more serious. “Consulting a headache specialist is important because they can tailor the treatment for each individual patient,” says Ahmed.
Project Rock Training Shoes Have Built in Tech To Absorb Impact and Protect Against Workout Injuries
Project Rock Training Shoes Have Built in Tech To Absorb Impact and Protect Against Workout InjuriesThere are a lot of trainers out there for you to put on your feet. But there are not many that can stand toe to toe with these UA Project Rock 3 Training Shoes. Under Armour is one of the best at making workout gear for a reason and these shoes are proof of that. And it’s thanks to a feature most training shoes don’t have.
A version of this story was published May 2019.
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