Reducing the incidence of migraines with the right exercise

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A study1 sought to find what type of exercise had the biggest impact on reducing migraines. Subjects were put in three groups. One group did high-intensity interval training (HIIT), another did moderate continuous exercise, and the third did no exercise. The conclusion:

“The data showed high-intensity training significantly reduced the frequency of migraine attacks.”

Why is HIIT effective? The researchers concluded that:

“The ‘afterburn’ effect of high-intensity training has a positive impact. After you do high-intensity training, your body for a long period has to have certain adaptations. You need more oxygen after the workout [Excessive Post-exercise Consumption] than you do when you have just continuous, moderate-pace exercise.”

Another study examining the afterburn affect found that:

“Both resistance training and intermittent aerobic training [Sprint training on bikes] increased excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) to a greater degree than did steady-state work [Running].”

The type of resistance training is also a factor.  High intensity resistance training (HIT) produces more EPOC than any other form of resistance training.   HIT and sprint training on bikes is what we do at our Austin Strength Training and New Orleans Strength Training facilities. 

One of our clients, Joan, had suffered from migraines the past 15 years. Narcotics were often necessary to alleviate her pain.  She has worked out with us for two months now. She reports that she has stopped having the migraines.