“I don’t want it to be jogging. I want it to be walking fast. Three and a half doesn’t sound like anything, but it’s actually faster than you think at 10 degrees,” Green said. “That tends to work out well.”
Migraine is complex and people who experience it do so for a variety of reasons. Yet there are some vital common denominators, Green said.
“In general, it’s influenced by genes. To give you an example, if you have migraine, your children have a 50% risk of developing migraine. If both parents have migraine, the risk is about 80% of developing migraine,” Green said.
In addition to low-impact exercise, Green advises his patients to eat multiple small meals a day, get consistent hydration and maintain consistent sleep schedules. He tells patients they need not limit caffeine intake but they also should not vary their caffeine routine.
“I tell people with migraine you have a brain that doesn’t like change — it likes constancy,” Green said.
Researchers noted that the study only shows a link between exercise and migraine triggers and doesn’t prove cause and effect.
The findings will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting, held online April 17-22. Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Dyess suggested migraine sufferers work more activity into their daily life. He recommended starting with gentle yoga, then building up to a brisker routine. That could include jogging, depending on the patient, he said.
“Exercise is such a cheap and accessible treatment option for people that’s just widely underutilized,” Dyess said. “I think awareness is powerful in this situation. It really can change lives anywhere and everywhere if utilized by patients.”
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more information on migraine.