During Migraine Awareness Week (September 9-15, 2019) The Migraine Association of Ireland are encouraging people with migraine to get outdoors and experience the potential health benefits of connecting with their environment.

Many people with migraine avoid exercise as it can sometimes trigger a migraine attack or an exertion related headache. For many people who suffer from headache disorders, gyms and fitness studios can be triggering environments with harsh lighting, loud music and high temperatures.

But by avoiding exercise people are missing out on the potential benefits that exercise could offer them.

Researchers from the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy analyzed how well exercise works as a preventative treatment for migraines and found that for people who want to reduce migraines without the side effects of drugs, exercise may be a good alternative.

The same researchers studied the effects of cardiovascular exercise on people with migraine. At the end of the study, they saw improvements in cardiovascular fitness and reductions in the severity and frequency of migraines experienced.

During Migraine Awareness Week, the Migraine Association are holding a number of meet ups and events throughout the country that people can attend and try different types of outdoor exercise from sea swimming to forest bathing.

We are also encouraging people to hold their own events during Migraine Awareness Week and to use it as an opportunity to meet up with other people suffering from migraine in their local community.

It could be a short walk on your local beach or perhaps you are a certified yoga teacher and would like to hold an outdoor event locally.

There is an increasing body of evidence that exercising in the outdoors also offers additional benefits over and above indoor exercise.

‘Green exercise’

Researchers at the University of Essex in England have been researching the benefits of ‘green exercise’ for the past 16 years and their studies show that just five minutes of green exercise can yield improvements in mood and self-esteem. If you are exercising outdoors you are also exposed to sunlight improving levels of Vitamin D.

During winter and autumn months when sunshine levels are low, ultraviolet radiation tends to be greater at the coast because of the effects that the landscape has on the clouds — put simply, more sunshine gets through.

Sea swimming could also offer potential benefits for migraine sufferers as a form of stress reduction. Studies published in the journal of Psychology and Health have shown that floating in salt water lowers levels of stress hormones, reduces blood pressure, improves sleep and helps muscles recover from exercise.

Other studies have found that these effects are possibly the result of the magnesium in the water — so floating on your back in the sea could be doing you more good than you realise.

Studies have shown that migraineurs have low brain magnesium during migraine attacks and may also have a magnesium deficiency. Furthermore, magnesium deficiency may play a particularly important role in menstrual migraine.

We are also partnering with a number of gyms who are holding migraine friendly exercise sessions during the week, where they will hold special ‘migraine friendly’ exercise classes and events.

To find out more about meet ups and events taking place during Migraine Awareness Week connect with us on social media through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We are also encouraging people to post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the hashtags #joininfeelgood #freshairfitness #makemigrainematter