Exercise for Migraine?

(HIT) High Intensity Training reduces migraines. For many years, I have shared the benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIT) to patients. Now here is one more benefit to  HIT.

A new study reported at the 18th Congress of the International Headache Society 2017 suggests that high-intensity training resulted in significant reduction in the frequency of migraines.

Compared to moderate continuous exercise such as running for 45 mins up to 75% of your max heart rate, this study shows that HIT improves the following:

  • reduces migraine attack (# of migraine days per month)
  • improves cerebrovascular health and
  • maximize oxygen uptake

How often do I need to HIT exercise?HIT exercise

Twice weekly for minimum of 12 weeks. HIT consists of 4 consecutive sets of running exercise for 4 minutes at 95% of maximal heart rate followed by 3 minutes at 75% of maximal heart rate, for a total exercise time of  ONLY 28 minutes per session.

Why does HIT exercise work?

After a high-intensity training, it creates an “afterburn effect” which is not observed in moderate exercises.  This afterburn effect is more officially known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). Basically, the more intense the exercise, the more oxygen your body consumes afterward.

If you don’t exercise on a regular basis, I would recommend building up your fitness level. This research seems to suggest that HIT exercise is better for health in long term at a shorter duration.

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