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Study Finds Yoga An Effective Cure For Migraine Headaches

Study Finds Yoga An Effective Cure For Migraine Headaches

If you suffer from severe headaches accompanied by disturbances in vision, nausea and vomiting, tingling in your extremities, pain in your temples, or sensitivity to light, you might be experiencing migraine headaches. These severe symptoms can be debilitating and negatively affect your quality of life.

The Migraine Research Foundation indicates that migraine headaches are common. In fact, approximately 18% of American women and 6% of men suffer from migraine headaches. Thus, if you suffer from migraines, you won’t be surprised that they are the 8th most disabling illness in the world.

According to researchers, there is hope for migraine sufferers. This study published in the International Journal of Yoga, indicates that when yoga is combined with conventional care, migraine headaches can be reduced in intensity and frequency. In this study, patients practiced yoga 5 days a week for 6 weeks and they kept a yoga diary. The practice included loosening and breathing exercises, postures done with awareness and Shavasana (corpse pose).

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If you’re a migraine headache sufferer, you will discover that the findings below are astonishing and could improve your quality of life.

Yoga Improves Quality of Life of Migraine Sufferers

Doctors measure the impact of migraine headaches on their patients’ lives by using the Headache Impact Test (HIT). It assesses the level of disability in a patient’s life, from little or no impact to severe or disabling impact. In the study mentioned above, the patients had a HIT score of more than 60. Consider that 78 is the highest number possible; therefore, migraine headaches were severely impacting their lives. The study concluded that those who combined yoga with conventional care had significantly lowered HIT scores. Thus, their quality of life was significantly improved due to combining a yoga practice with conventional migraine headache therapies.

Yoga Increases Vagal Tone in Migraine Headache Patients

The study also found that yoga, which was combined with conventional care, resulted in reduction in sympathetic tone as well as increased vagal tone. It is hypothesized that those with improved vagal tone have fewer and less severe migraine headaches. Many researchers theorize that yoga improves vagal tone by regulating the nervous system. Vagal tone refers to the activity of our vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in our bodies, and it controls many functions, but particularly heart rate. For example, those who have strong vagal tone, such as athletes, have a slower resting heart rate.

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Yoga Reduces Stress in Migraine Headache Patients

In addition, the study indicates that slow, mindful exercises such as yoga are beneficial to migraine sufferers due to the stress reduction that this type of exercise provides. Stress can play a big part in triggering episodes of both migraine headaches and tension headaches. Numerous research studies indicate that yoga reduces stress and anxiety and increases feelings of well being. In fact, this study which examined the effects of exercise on stress, found that those who practiced yoga were much less anxious, tense, depressed, angry and fatigued.

How Do You Get Started with Yoga?

Before beginning a new exercise program, you should always consult a doctor. After you’ve been given clearance to begin, you might find that yoga can be confusing because of the many different styles and levels.

If your goal is to reduce migraine headaches and you’re a beginner, look for classes such as stress-reduction yoga, integrative yoga therapy, restorative yoga, gentle yoga, Hatha or Kundalini. There are many other suitable styles as well. It’s best to discuss your goals with a yogi at your chosen studio or health center of choice.

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You can find many gentle yoga classes at local health clubs, hospitals and yoga studios. And, some instructors will teach you yoga at home. Sometimes it takes time to find a studio and instructor that’s right for you, but don’t give up because the instructor can greatly influence the quality of your experience.

The gear is fairly simple. It’s imperative that you have a yoga mat. Many studios provide them for you, but sometimes at a rental fee so it’s a good idea to purchase one. Generally, you will use yoga props such as blankets, blocks and bolsters, and the yoga studio typically provides them.

Yoga isn’t meant to be a fashion show so focus on comfort when choosing your attire. Ensure your clothing allows for easy movement. Pants that are specifically designed for yoga are helpful because they typically don’t slip down or slide up while performing poses. Avoid zippers, buttons and drawstrings, as they can feel uncomfortable during certain poses.

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The most important thing to remember is that yoga is not a competition and you shouldn’t feel as though you’re being judged. Relaxation, mindfulness and your well being are important aspects. The focus is on you, your breath and your energy.

Namaste.

Featured photo credit: Syda Productions via shutterstock.com

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Marilyn Rogers

Marketing Consultant | Content Strategist | Freelance Writer

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Published on June 7, 2019

10 Lower Body Workouts Anyone Can Try at Home

10 Lower Body Workouts Anyone Can Try at Home

Having a hard time going to the gym? Fear no more!

In this article, we’ll be breaking down 10 in home lower body workouts anyone can try at home and their exercises. No gear needed for these workouts, just some space and a cup water waiting for your disposal.

There’re 3 main parts in this article:

If you’re familiar with the basic lower body exercises, just get into the first section 10 Lower Body Workouts That Can Be Done Anywhere right away.

If you want more guidance on the basics, check out the second section Lower Body Exercises Breakdown.

And the last section is about what you should do before and after working out.

10 Lower Body Workouts That Can Be Done Anywhere

If you’re familiar with the basic lower body exercises, just read on this section.

If you’d like to have more guidance on each exercise listed in these 10 workouts, take a look at the following part Lower Body Exercises Breakdown.

1. The Starter Workout

3 sets of 8-12 reps of:

  • Squat
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Glute Bridge

(30 sec to 2 min rest in between each set)

2. The 7 Minute Workout

3 rounds of 30 seconds of each exercise:

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  • Walking Lunges
  • Quarter Squat
  • Step Up
  • Single Leg Deadlift

(1 min rest in between each round)

3. The Unilateral Workout

4 sets of 16 reps of:

  • Reverse Lunges
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Skater Squat
  • Single Leg Glute Bridge

(30 sec to 1 min rest in between each set)

4. The Endurance Workout

2 sets of 20-50 reps of:

  • Squat
  • Walking Lunge
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Glute Bridge

(1-2 min rest in between each set)

5. The Back To Back Lower Body Workout

5 rounds of 10 to 20 seconds of each exercise:

  • Skater Squat
  • Step Up
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Single Leg Glute Bridge
  • Quarter Squat

(30 min rest in between each round)

6. Strength Lower Body Workout

5 to 10 sets of 4 reps of:

  • Walking Lunge
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Squat

(30 sec to 2 mins of rest time in between set)

7. Glute Burner Workout

4 sets of 10-30 reps of:

  • Walking Lunge
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Single Leg Glute Bridge
  • Quarter Squat

(1 min of rest time in between set)

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8. The Advance Lower Body Workout

3 rounds of 20 seconds of:

  • Squat
  • Walking Lunge
  • Skater Squat
  • Reverse Lunge
  • Glute Bridge
  • Single Leg Deadlift

(2 mins of rest time in between set)

9. The Quick Lower Body Workout

2 sets of 10 reps of:

  • Reverse Lunge
  • Step Up
  • Single Leg Deadlift

10. The 100 Repetition Challenge

2 sets of 50 reps on each leg of:

  • Walking Lunge
  • Single Leg Deadlift

(4 mins of rest time in between set)

Lower Body Exercises Breakdown

Here’s the breakdown of the lower body exercises[1] that you found in the workouts listed in the first section of this article.

1. Squat

    A squat is a compound movement which entails the recruitment of a majority of your lower body (quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, spinal erectors).

    How to squat:

    Feet shoulder width apart or a little wider. Toes pointed slightly out, arms out in front of you. Sit into your heels till you hit parallel with your butt and knee, drive through the heels, return to starting position and repeat.

    2. Walking Lunges

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      A lunge is a complex movement which recruits mainly the lower body.

      The walking lunges are a harder version of a split squat which is stationary and then adds the component of stepping and keeping balance which engages the gluteus medius as well as allowing a larger range of motion.

      3. Reverse Lunge

        A reverse lunge is very similar to the split squat but instead, after every rep, you are returning to the starting position and stepping back.

        By reverse stepping, you are allowing for a better emphasis on the hamstrings and gluteal muscles as opposed to the quadriceps muscles in a forward stepping lunge.

        4. Quarter Squat

          A quarter squat is the top ¼ movement of a squat. This will work mainly the gluteal muscles as it emphasizes the hip extension and not a lot of range of motion on the quadriceps muscles.

          5. Skater Squat

            A skater squat is a unilateral variation of the squat, this squat really engages the gluteus medius and hamstrings as it works unilateral stability and hip flexion which fires both the hamstrings and glutes.

            6. Step Up

              The Step Up is the greatest balance of getting the glutes and quadriceps muscles firing. Doing Step Ups will not only get the glutes going, but the quadriceps as well.

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              7. Glute Bridge

                Glute Bridges are a great way to nearly isolate the glutes and build a great butt. This entire movement works through hip extension which the main movement of the gluteal muscles.

                8. Single Leg Glute Bridge

                  Single leg glute bridge ensures that we are evenly building the glutes and not relying too heavily on our dominant leg and symmetrical butt. The step up can be done in a chair or a step in the stairs

                  9. Single Leg Deadlift

                    Single Leg RDL’s engage that entire booty and hamstrings, especially the gluteus medius due to its unilateral stability property. This is a great way to spice up some routine deadlifts.

                    Before & After Working Out

                    Before engaging in any physical activity, consult a doctor if you have not worked out in years. However, if you want to go at it without consulting a doctor, start slow and build your way up. Even though it’s home workout, use dynamic stretching or some light jogging[2] as a warm up before starting the lower body workouts.

                    Finally, at the end of the lower body workout, use static stretching to reduce injuries and to calm down your heart rate gradually.

                    Featured photo credit: Gesina Kunkel via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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