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The Best Exercises for Chronic Migraines, Expert Reveals

If you deal with chronic migraines, these exercises can help relieve the pain.

The sun may be shining and the birds may be chirping, but if you start off your day with a migraine, you can be in for a nasty stretch of time. Don't panic, because there are some calming measures you can take to try to bring down this debilitating beast. Having tiny amounts of caffeine, using a cold compress, and performing some massage techniques are just a few steps that can be therapeutic. In addition, staying in a dark and quiet room can help. But some of the best exercises for chronic migraines are also potential soothers or even remedies as well. Read on to learn exactly what they are.

Poor sleep and stress are typical migraine triggers, and exercise is associated with better sleep and reduced stress.

mature woman running on the beach

We spoke with Dr. Mike Bohl, the Director of Medical Content & Education at Ro and a certified personal trainer, who explains, "There are a few different ways that working out may help reduce the frequency of experiencing migraines. Stress and poor sleep are common triggers for migraine, and exercise is linked to reduced stress and improved sleep." He adds, "Chronic migraine sufferers also experience an increased risk of depression, and exercise is associated with better mood. And, while it's not directly related to exercise, many people who frequently work out are often more intentional about their diet."

Everyone is different, and specific foods can often trigger migraines. It's important to be mindful of the things you put into your body each day. Dr. Bohl informs us, "Paying more attention to what you're eating every day—in addition to exercise—may help reduce migraine frequency."

Related: Bad Fitness Habits That Are Rapidly Aging Your Body, Trainer Reveals

Low-to-moderate intensity aerobic exercises and intentional movements are stellar for chronic migraine sufferers.

mature woman doing yoga exercises for chronic migraine pain at home

When it comes down to the best exercises for chronic migraines, aerobic exercises of low-to-moderate intensity are extraordinary. Going for a walk, swimming, running, and jogging are all stellar choices. Workouts with intentional movements are also golden, including Tai chi, pilates, and yoga.

Related: What Walking Every Day Does to Your Body, Expert Reveals

Stretch it out.

woman stretching out her neck, demonstrating the best exercises for chronic migraines

Another step to include in your migraine relief regimen is stretching. You can possibly relieve some muscle tension by stretching out your neck muscles. Muscle tension is a big culprit when it comes to a migraine.

Lifting heavy weights and/or high-intensity interval training could trigger migraines in some individuals.

man performing dad bod workout with barbell

Dr. Bohl points out, "People who experience migraines have different triggers, so exercises that may be fine for one person could be migraine triggers for somebody else." Start a journal if you've not yet identified things so you can learn the sources. Typically, chronic migraine sufferers should find out what their triggers are so they can be avoided at all costs.

"Intense exercise—like lifting very heavy weights—or vigorous exercise—like high-intensity interval training—may be more likely to trigger migraines in some people (but not necessarily in everyone)," Dr. Bohl concludes.

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa