Migraine and Exercise: The Benefits and Considerations for Physical Activity

Regular exercise is known to have numerous benefits for overall health and well-being. However, for individuals who experience migraines, engaging in physical activity can sometimes be challenging due to concerns about triggering or exacerbating migraine attacks. Understanding the relationship between migraines and exercise, as well as considering the benefits and precautions, can help individuals make informed decisions about incorporating physical activity into their migraine management plan. In this article, we will explore the benefits of exercise for migraine sufferers and provide considerations for safely incorporating exercise into their routine.

The Benefits of Exercise for Migraine Sufferers:

Stress Reduction: Exercise is a powerful stress reducer, and stress is a common trigger for migraines. Regular physical activity can help manage stress levels, potentially reducing the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.

Mood Enhancement: Exercise promotes the release of endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Engaging in regular exercise can improve mood and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety, which are commonly associated with migraines.

Improved Sleep Quality: Regular exercise can improve sleep quality, which is essential for migraine management. Getting sufficient, restful sleep can help reduce the likelihood of migraine attacks.

Enhanced Overall Fitness: Engaging in cardiovascular exercise and strength training can improve overall fitness levels. A strong and healthy body may be better equipped to handle migraine attacks and potentially reduce their severity.

Considerations for Exercising with Migraines:

Start Slowly: If you’re new to exercise or have concerns about migraines, start with low-intensity activities and gradually increase intensity and duration. This allows your body to adapt and minimizes the risk of triggering a migraine attack.

Choose Migraine-Friendly Activities: Certain activities, such as swimming, walking, cycling, and yoga, are generally well-tolerated by individuals with migraines. These low-impact exercises can provide benefits without putting excessive strain on the body.

Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can trigger migraines, so it’s important to stay properly hydrated before, during, and after exercise. Drink water regularly throughout your workout to maintain optimal hydration.

Pay Attention to Triggers: Be mindful of your individual migraine triggers and adjust your exercise routine accordingly. For example, if bright lights or loud noises trigger migraines, consider exercising in a dimly lit and quiet environment.

Maintain a Consistent Schedule: Establish a consistent exercise routine by scheduling workouts at regular intervals. This helps regulate your body’s natural rhythms and may contribute to more stable migraine patterns.

Listen to Your Body: If you experience any warning signs or prodromal symptoms of a migraine attack, such as aura, dizziness, or nausea, it’s important to listen to your body and take a break from exercise. Pushing through may worsen the symptoms or trigger a full-blown attack.

Seek Professional Advice: Consult with your healthcare provider or a migraine specialist before starting or modifying an exercise program, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns.


Exercise can offer significant benefits for individuals who experience migraines. From stress reduction and mood enhancement to improved sleep quality and overall fitness, regular physical activity can play a positive role in migraine management. By understanding your triggers, starting slowly, choosing migraine-friendly activities, and listening to your body, you can safely incorporate exercise into your routine. Remember to consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice and guidance. With careful consideration and a gradual approach, exercise can be a valuable tool in your journey towards managing migraines and improving your overall well-being.