Thursday, June 22, 2006

Who needs to exercise?!

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When my new neurologist said, "And I want you to start getting some regular exercise," all I could think was, "How the hell am I going to get out of it." Gulp.

I want to be a good patient and take my doctors orders. I think we all do. But exercise often seems like a double-edged sword for a migraineur. Experts recommend we get regular exercise as part of a good preventative plan to control migraines and (often) co-occurring depression. But many migraineurs (myself included) find that exertion brings on migraines. Who needs that? Furthermore, when you're feeling beat down by the effects of chronic illness and pain, the last thing you feel like doing is slipping into your sneakers and hitting the gym. Thing is, we really need to do it.

Instead of thinking of all the things we can't do right now, perhaps it makes sense to focus on what we can do. Stretching? Yup, I think I can handle that. Yoga? Sure, why not, as long as the poses are suited to beginners. Walking? Maybe not outside in the summertime, but in a climate-controlled environment, a nice leisurely walk may be just the thing to release endorphins and boost serotonin.

More on the benefits of exercise for pain sufferers:

Chronic pain: Exercise can bring relief

Simple stretches you can do just about anywhere, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic website:

Slide show: Stretches you can do in your office

Other basic stretches:

Flexibility/Stretching Exercises

Yoga Journal has advice and information for newbies, including sequences specifically for those experiencing headaches or depression:

Sequences for Beginners

This DVD is a great option for fitting yoga into your daily life:

Stress Relief Yoga for Beginners

Information about starting a walking routine:

Walking: A Step in the Right Direction

Advice on planning your walking workout from Real Simple magazine:

Plan Your Ideal Walking Workout

A DVD program for low-impact walking in your home:

Walk Away the Pounds

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