Embracing Movement: The Unlikely Ally Against Migraine

Today, I'm starting this blog with something deeply personal - a confession that, given my career in health and wellness, I used to find embarrassing to admit. But here it goes… I am not an exercise fan, and maintaining a daily routine has always been a struggle. This might come as a surprise, but my journey hasn't been one of unwavering discipline and enthusiasm for workouts. Quite the opposite, actually. Read on as I share my personal journey with exercise and how I’ve come to change my tune about it!

My Journey to Movement

As a child, my days were filled with spontaneous play - I didn't think of racing through the woods, spinning on swing sets, or swimming until the stars came out as exercise. It was just life.

Fast forward through two pregnancies and a demanding career, exercise was the last thing on my mind. Then, my 30s hit me like a brick. I was plagued with persistent symptoms, from exhaustion to joint pain. My doctor's probing question about my exercise habits was a wake-up call.

To save myself the embarrassment, I started collecting workout VHS tapes, embraced P90X in my 40s, and now, in my 50s, I have become a sometimes reluctant member of the Peloton community.

But the challenge? Starting is hard, and maintaining momentum? Well, that's where I often falter.

The Importance of Prioritizing Movement

I've experienced what many of you may relate to - life gets in the way, and once a habit is broken, it's all too easy to leave it by the wayside entirely.

There always seemed to be something more pressing, like my desire to support women suffering from migraines - a noble reason, yet also a convenient excuse to neglect my own well-being.

In a twist of irony, the very issues I help others with have crept back into my life, signaling the need to reprioritize my health. It's easy to forget the importance of movement when the immediate benefits are invisible, and the time invested feels like a loss. Who else has thought, "I could/should be doing something else?"

And yet, a 13-year Taiwanese study reminds me otherwise. Those who live sedentary lives face frightening statistics - a 16% higher risk of early death. The good news? Just 15-30 minutes of daily exercise significantly lowers that risk.

I've come to appreciate my struggles with exercise. They've made me a better coach, more empathetic and understanding. But I've also learned that understanding the importance of something doesn't always translate into action. Sometimes, we need a mirror of our future to comprehend the cost of inaction.

The Power of Consistent Movement

For those of us sitting all day, just 15-30 minutes of exercise can be the dividing line between risk and resilience. This thought is now posted in my office to remind myself of what's at stake and reaffirm my commitment to daily movement - my sign against procrastination.

Reflecting on the potential of reducing our early mortality and heart disease risks, we realize we make time for what matters. And so, now, I ride my bike in the afternoons - it's in my calendar, with time blocked off, no-excuses style.

Yet the human side of me still hesitates sometimes. I've seen the data, felt the consequences of a sedentary life, but the internal battle persists. This struggle is normal, and acknowledging it helps me cope better.

Overcoming Excuses and Internal Battles

Research suggests that consistent physical activity can add valuable years to our life - years we want to live fully, not merely survive through pain. Despite this, excuses are ever-present. We’re “too busy, too exhausted, have too many errands, etc.”

Sound familiar?

For anyone who has suffered a migraine, when meds don’t work, it's tempting to retreat to your bed but imagine if embracing a bit of movement could offer a reprieve.

Exercise is more than a tool for weight management—it's our body's stress alleviator, sleep inducer, and mood enhancer. Regular exercise helps against insomnia, anxiety, depression, and stress.

Remember the last time a leisurely stroll changed your mood? That's the power of endorphins. Maintaining an ideal weight is essential too, given obesity's connection to increased migraine frequency.

The Multifaceted Benefits of Exercise

Movement doesn't need to be complex or costly - a walk in the park, a living room stretch session, or a homemade obstacle course with the kids or grandkids offers equal benefits.

Moderation is key - enhancing your health doesn't require extreme regimens, but it does require consistency.

If you need help getting more movement in your everyday life, click here for our guide on movement modulation for migraine free days and reach out in DMs for support.

debbie waidl migraine freedom coach2


Debbie Waidl is the Owner of In The Balance Health Coaching LLC, and Founder of The Freedom From Migraines Method™   & The Migraine Freedom Protocol™ 
She supports busy moms living with Migraines. 

Debbie will uncover what is holding them back from migraine freedom so they can live their life pain and symptom free, work productively, spend the time they want with family and friends, and stop missing out on the things they enjoy.

A message from Debbie:
"I was once right where you are now.  100% believing there was NO WAY to end migraines and my only option was to learn how to live with them or find that magic pill that maybe would work for a while.  If anyone told me back then that I could end my pain once and for all, I would have called BS and popped another pill!

Skeptical times 10  was my middle name for sure because when you try it all and everyone tells you they can help you and they don’t.   You stop believing…  you lose HOPE!

I now realize I was approaching my migraines all backward.

I was trying to cover up symptoms versus trying to end my pain."

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