How Simple Movements Can Help You Manage Life, Pain, and Stress

Everyone can benefit from simple movements that aim to keep you stable, balanced, and coordinated – both physically and mentally no matter if your affected by exercise induced migraine or not.

What I Mean By “Simple Movements”

There’s no need to get a gym membership or buy a machine for your basement. Simple means just that. Take a few laps around the house while you talk on the phone, walk down the street to chat with a neighbor, or stretch your muscles – do activities like this for 10 minutes at a time, 4-6 times a day. That is the best way to help your body, mind, and mood. Other than those, here are a few more ideas for simple movements:

·         Gardening is an excellent way to strengthen your core muscles.

·         Park farther away from the front door than you usually do.

·         Put on some good music and dance in the living room.

·         Vacuum, sweep or otherwise clean up around the house.

·         Wash your car by hand.

·         Play “Simon Says” with the kids.

·         Invest in a standing desk that is easy to adjust back to a seated position. 

·         Learn one new yoga pose per week and practice it daily.

What is it about moving that helps us manage life, pain, and stress so much better? Let’s start with the mind. 

Move for Brain Health

For many, our feelings and thoughts about exercise directly impact movement; however, recent research shows that it is also true the other way around. Movement affects our emotions. Studies out of the University of Illinois show the elevated feeling we get when we move around is an increase in the natural substance, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which supports memory and learning. Simple movements like walking around the house or yard throughout the day will help “regrow” brain structures responsible for cognitive function.

Brain fog is a big problem for many migraineurs. It feels like you’re thinking through mud or heavy smoke. The pain makes it difficult to think clearly, too, or sometimes, even at all. When brain fog starts to come on, try getting up for a stroll around the house, yard, or neighborhood. Even if you don’t notice an immediate difference, you are still doing something good for yourself by moving.

Move to Cope

Stress is one of the top three primary migraine triggers. This unprecedented time we’re living in doesn’t help matters for anyone, especially migraineurs. But we must adapt or perish in the face of stress, and I vote to adapt. One of the most effective ways to reduce and cope with stress is regular exercise; that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get your heart rate up and run a mile on the treadmill. Even simple movements can help. Stress produces a fight-or-flight response, and motion satisfies the body’s immediate need to act. 

Basically, ride the wave rather than swim against the tide. Work the muscles that are trying to respond to the increased hormones telling you to flee or fight back in moments of physical, emotional, or mental stress. 

Move for Pain Relief

I’m sure the last thing on your mind when you’re experiencing any pain is ‘movement.’ Research shows migraineurs who underwent movement treatments with a physical therapist experienced a 30% reduction in migraine pain severity. Your movements don’t need to be big and aerobic; they just have to exist.

There are many options to keeping yourself healthy, even in the middle of a pandemic, with the condition that often threatens to land you in the emergency room. Now more than ever, it’s essential to learn new ways of taking care of yourself. Start simple. Movement is one of the most effective ways to take care of your mind, body, and spirit. And you never have to do any of this alone. Whether you need medical guidance or moral support, I help people all around the world find their way to better living. Just reach out through this website or visit me on social media.

Sources:

Anschutz Wellness: Just Move Benefits

Mounds Park Academy: The Relationship Between Movement and The Brain

Mental Help: Kinetic Movement Strategies for Stress Relief

Harvard Health: Moving Benefits Your Mental Health