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Incorporating Physical Activity into Your Lifestyle

Regular physical activity is essential for a healthy life. It helps you control your weight; strengthens your bones and muscles; improves your mental health and mood; reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and some cancers; and increases your chances of living longer [1]. Regular physical activity can also reduce the severity and number of migraines a sufferer may experience [2].

What happens from a lack of physical activity?

According to the World Health Organization, approximately two million deaths per year are due to physical inactivity, meaning that a sedentary lifestyle could be among the ten leading causes of death and disability [3]. Physical inactivity increases all causes of mortality; doubles the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity; and increases the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression and anxiety [4]. Other issues that arise from a sedentary lifestyle are burning fewer calories resulting in weight gain, losing muscle strength and endurance, a weakened immune system, poorer blood circulation, more inflammation, and developing a hormonal imbalance [5].

What are physical exertion headaches?

While there are many benefits to physical activity, some people actually suffer from what is called a physical exertion headache. These exercise-induced headaches aren’t as well known as migraines or stress headaches, but they can be just as painful and can last anywhere from five minutes to forty-eight hours [6]. According to the American Migraine Foundation, they generally occur during strenuous exercise such as biking, running or weightlifting and are caused by increased pressure on the blood vessels in the brain [7].

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent exertion headaches. The first way is to always stay hydrated before, during and after exercise, as a fluid deficit can trigger a migraine. The second is to eat enough food before your workout so that you control your blood sugar levels and have enough energy. Eat foods high in protein like a bar or nuts and try to eat about an hour and a half before you exercise. Lastly, make sure to warm-up before starting your exercise so that you are not jumping straight into a rigorous routine. You can walk, jog and/or gently lift weights before your more intense workout [8].

What exercises and activity are best for you?

There are many different exercise options for you to choose from when it comes to getting in regular physical activity. If you’re unsure of where to start or are interested in changing up your routine, try The Blood Type Workout, which is based on your genetic makeup. For Type O’s, the best exercises are high-intensity workouts such as interval training, running, and plyometrics. For Type A’s, you should opt for calming activities like Pilates, yoga, Tai Chi and isometric exercises. Type B’s do best with cardio workouts that are of lower impact, such as tennis or cycling, along with resistance training. And Type AB’s do best with gentle cardio exercises, like walking, hiking, golf, and dance as well as yoga and Tai Chi [9].

The number one thing to remember with physical activity is to do what you enjoy and what feels best for your body. Keep trying something new until you find a regular routine you can stick with.

How to incorporate more physical activity

If you have a hard time developing a fitness routine on your own, finding a fitness partner or joining a group meetup or class are great options. You can use sites such as www.Meetup.com and www.FindAnExercisePartner.com to find a group of workout buddies. Classes at a local gym are also a great way to jump in on group activities or even find a buddy to workout with the outside of class. Exercising with others provides more motivation, structure, accountability, variety, and fun to your routine so that you’re more likely to stick with it and see the results you’re looking for.

References:

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm

[2] https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/really-the-claim-exercise-can-ward-off-migraines/

[3] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/release23/en/

[4] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/release23/en/

[5] https://medlineplus.gov/healthrisksofaninactivelifestyle.html

[6] http://www.health.com/headaches-and-migraines/exertion-headache

[7] http://www.health.com/headaches-and-migraines/exertion-headache

[8] https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/understanding-migraine/effects-of-exercise-on-headaches-and-migraines/

[9] https://www.prevention.com/fitness/a20450026/the-best-workout-for-your-blood-type/

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