Exercise and Migraine While Traveling

Last month I returned from a month-long trip to Ireland and Hong Kong to celebrate my sister’s wedding. Traveling with migraine is no easy task, but it can be done! Exercising while traveling can also be achieved if you take advantage of different opportunities to move.

Woman and child walking

Here are a few of my ideas for how to travel well with migraine while off on adventures.

  • Plan ahead with medication & supplements

Make sure you have your migraine medication, heat/ice packs, supplements and other comforts to help you through attacks. The fact is you will probably get at least one attack while you are away, but if you can manage it quickly and efficiently then it will be less stressful and take up less of your holiday time. See if you can get this months and next months medication from the pharmacy, and make sure to pack your prescriptions too in case you either run out or get questioned about the drugs you are traveling with. I carried two smalls purses, one in my suitcase the other in my handbag that had my triptans, ibuprofen, ginger, asprin and paracetamol (aka tylenol) so I knew that I wasn’t going to be stuck without them. When it came to taking my supplements I carried one big container of them in my suitcase, and then I took one of these snack containers in my day bag with enough for two full days of supplements.

  • Pack snacks

Along with medication, packing-head friendly snacks to take on the plane/train/bus is so so helpful. It means you can feel confident about the food you are eating (less stress) and make sure you don’t get low blood sugar, a common trigger. I enjoyed taking sandwiches, pumpkin seeds, apples, popcorn and corn thins on the road. Alicia from the Dizzy Cook also has some good snack ideas like these sunbutter balls, yum.

  • Stay somewhere with a kitchen

Look this isn’t always easy, and sometimes we just have to stay in hotels. Hotels are lovely, but they don’t give us quite the flexibility of having our own kitchen to prepare head-friendly meals in between eating out. I was able to eat out plenty while we were away, but it was nice to have the option to have a simple breakfast of toast or cereal, or eggs for lunch occasionally.

  • Plan rest time

We want to see as much as we can on holiday, of course, it’s only natural. I implore you though, plan for rest. Plan to give those weary legs some time up on the couch. Schedule reading sessions or quiet afternoons at the hotel/airbnb. You will enjoy the sightseeing you do even more, you will be able to savour the busier moments and you might just avoid a migraine attack. Oh and make sure you take a sleep mask for daytime snoozing…

  • Be gentle with yourself

This follows from the last one, but be kind to yourself. Sure you might not be able to do or see as much as you might of before you were unwell. It’s OK to feel disappointed or frustrated but try to remember that you are doing your best. Choosing to travel is a strong decision to start with, getting to your destination is worth celebrating.

Exercising while on holiday can be tricky too, but it all depends on how we frame it. If we see exercise as requiring a yoga mat or gym, then yes it might be hard to fit in depending where you are. If instead, we try to look for the movement opportunities then travel has plenty! We can walk for hours around new cities or along a gorgeous coast line. We can swim in the ocean or lake, or hire a bike and take a ride. If we want to go to a class then a new city is the perfect opportunity to check out a new yoga teacher or method, or something totally different like dance or Pilates if you have the energy. If you don’t, that’s OK too. After all, holidays are for time off and doing what you like! If you truly feel like resting the whole time then do so. Without guilt!

I made it through our whirlwind journey across the globe with far fewer attacks than I expected. I was able to rest, sight-see and enjoy walking the gorgeous Irish countryside. It wasn’t easy, but I felt like I had everything I needed to handle whatever migraine threw at me and it wasn’t as dreadful as I had feared!

If you are planning a trip good luck and enjoy! I hope you have a wonderful time.

  • Post by Emily Cordes
  • Jul 03, 2019