Intense training, best to reduce migraine attacks

The pains caused by migraine episodes could be reduced by practicing high intensity physical exercise twice a week, as it improves blood circulation and oxygenates tissues better.

Doing high-intensity exercise oxygenates the brain, which reduces episodes of migraines.

Researchers from the University of Basel (Switzerland) have conducted a study with the aim of knowing the effectiveness of moderate exercise and high intensity in reducing migraine attacks .

The results have been released at the 18th Congress of the International Headache Society (IHC) 2017 and show that although positive results have been observed against migraines in both types of exercises but the practice of high intensity training or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been shown to be more efficient in reducing the frequency of episodes of this type of headache.

Intense physical exercise dilates the arteries

With this type of intense exercise a greater dilation of the arteries and constriction of the venules is achieved in comparison with the moderate, which results in a lower frequency of migraine attacks. After a HIIT session the body must adapt to receive more oxygen, and in this way can recover from the effort more quickly.

The study was performed with a group of 20 women and four men, with a mean age of 36 years, who were divided into three groups of eight people. One of them had high-intensity intervallic exercises twice a week for 12 weeks. Another group performed continuous moderate training during the same time, designed to require the same amount of energy as the HIIT, and the last of them was not assigned any routine.

Retinal photographs were taken and the retinal arteriovenous index was measured with analysis of vessel diameter as these tests indicate how the health of the cerebral microvasculature is. Patients also received a diary in which they had to note their migraine attacks during the period of the investigation.

According to Alice Minghetti, one of the study’s investigators, high-intensity training is safe for people with migraine and has beneficial effects on cerebrovascular health and oxygen uptake, so aerobic exercise could be considered a tool for prevention and alternative treatment of this disease.


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