If you’ve followed me on Instagram or Facebook for a while now, then you would know one of my key messages is that we benefit from simply moving more. It doesn’t have to be a sweaty gym session to be good for you, a simple stroll around the block when you otherwise would have sat for that 15mins makes the world of difference. Building more physical activity into your life adds up to a healthier you, with or without the migraine!
Of course, with migraine you need to think about finding ways to move that also don’t trigger an attack. These need to be able to fit into a life with the unpredictability of migraine, allowing you to get going when you can and rest when you need to. Here are some simple suggestions to get you started, I’d love you to let me know if you have any you would add!
- Take the stairs
You have undoubtedly heard it before, but if you have the choice of elavator/life or stairs, take the stairs! Within reason of course, it gets my heart rate too high to go up more than a couple of flights in any one session. Great for the muscles of the legs and the hips!
- Park further away
Going to the shops? Park in an easy vacant spot a decent walk from the front doors. Boom, a few minutes of movement and few hundred added steps right there.
- Squats while you watch Netflix
Fairly self-explanatory! Throw in a few squats hovering above the sofa to break up the binge.
- Set up active friend dates
I love meeting my friends for coffee and drinks (OK, OK, decaf tea and mocktails these days haha), but I also love organising walks along the beach or through a park. If you want to hear about their lives and catch up properly, you can do that without sitting still. Another option is to go to a yoga or fitness class together and then catch up over juice afterwards!
- Heel raises while you do your teeth
Another simple one, just rise up onto the balls of your feet and down again while brushing your teeth. Aim for 10, rest, and then another 10.
- Tricep dips in the kitchen
Use the kitchen bench or a chair to do some tricep dips before you prep for dinner. Here’s a YouTube clip how to.
- Walk around while you chat on the phone
If someone calls you, use this as an opportunity to stand up and walk around. We are not tied to the desk to talk anymore, put your headphones in and go.
- Walking lunch breaks
If you work in an office, go out for lunch somewhere a little further, get it to go and eat at your desk after a good 30min stroll there and back. You probably won’t do this every day, but sometimes this can be a neat way to add a walk into the work routine.
- Desk stretches
Stretch your neck, your arms, wrists while sitting at your desk.
- Mobility exercises first thing
When you wake up, have a gentle stretch and then get your body moving to start the day well. I love to work in some hip mobility, gentle shoulder rolls and a little spinal extension (fancy way of saying stretch up and arch your upper back as if you’re looking up at the sky!).
- Take public transport
See if you can take public transport instead of driving. Better for the planet, better for you! Not always possible, but one to add in case it is!
- Get a new hobby!
Did you love to dance when you were younger? There are plenty of adult dance lessons out there you could try! Or Zumba, yoga, pilates, golf, Tai Chi, aqua aerobics. Try to think fun, don’t focus on the workout but on the fun.
- Take frequent water breaks
Whether at work or home, try to get up and have a little walk around and a gentle stretch every hour. When I worked in a big office I would make a point of going to fill up my water glass every hour, even if I hadn’t completely emptied it. Bonus - means you have to walk to more bathroom breaks too, haha.
- Home yoga
See my post from a few weeks ago for some ideas and inspiration!
I love love love my foam roller. I definitely don’t use it as much as I’d like to (hello #mumlife) but when I do its great. Who doesn’t love a free massage and a chance to act silly rolling around on the floor? Similarly you could roll your feet to massage the muscles and fascia. It feels so good. I mentioned this in a recent Instagram post and many others said they enjoy it too! Look for a spikey exercise balls in Target or your nearest sports store, or you could use a tennis ball too.
- Find some simple moves you can do in bed
With migraine, we do spend a fair bit of time lying on or in bed. See if you can break up the boredom of those high pain days with some gentle exercises like pulling your knees into your chest and away again, or circling your ankles and then your wrists. Every little counts.
- Take kids to the park
We’ve had a few suggestions for people who work in an office. If you’re at home with kids like I am, then the easiest way to move is to give the kids what they want - park time! Just don’t forget your water, large hat and sunglasses.
- Date night
Dinner and a stroll through the city is one of my favourite ways to spend an evening. Other options include a date afternoon where the kids go to the Grandparents/sitter and you and your partner pick something fun to do together like a walk along the beach. The best combination again = fun + movement!
- Go for a morning or an evening stroll
Another obvious one that is often overlooked. Fitting regular walks into your weekly routine is the easiest way to get the movement minutes up, and I absolutely love a walk to clear my head after a long day or starting a new day right.
- Get an indoor bike
This is one for those of you with space at home and the budget for a bike. Doesn’t have to be a fancy expensive one, but an indoor bike that you can hop on for 15-20mins 2-3 times a week is an invaluable way to boost your physical health. Plus, you get to listen to podcasts or audio books while you spin - multitasking at its best!
- Dance it out!
An oldie but a goody - put on your favourite tune and get grooving! Personally I like to thrash it out to TV on the Radio or Arcade Fire somedays, and the Wiggles with Freya others. Either way it feels great to dance and move so freely. Fun + movement wins again.
I hope these inspire you to think outside the box, or gym! We don’t have to sweat it out in activewear to stay healthy. Getting your heart rate up regularly (but not too high for migraine sufferers) is important, but you can do this as part of your everyday life.
Do you have any other simple suggestions you would add to the mix here?