First Steps

The thing about having a body that’s prone to migraines is we think it’s limited. We think it has boundaries.

And that’s true to some extent. I can’t eat hot dogs even though I used to love watching my Texas Rangers play at the ballpark while chowing down on a hot dog. I can’t have coffee with three heaping tablespoons of sugar anymore every day like I did when I was a reporter.

But having migraines doesn’t mean we can’t train our body to stretch its limits.

The goal for now, if you’re looking to get started in a workout program, is to just go.

Go run for 5 minutes.

Go run once around the block.

Go run to the end of the road and back.

If you’re starting from vestibular migraine, where dizziness is constant. I’ve been there too. The goal is still the same: go.

Walk for five minutes.

Walk once around the block.

Walk to the end of the road and back.

At one point with vestibular migraine, I was walking with a cane or I needed someone to be with me in case I felt like I was going to fall. If that’s the case, take the cane. Take someone with you.

The point is, you need to let your body know that you can do something it thinks it can’t.

I used to tell myself, “If I can run with this, I can walk with this. I can live with this.”

Obviously, practical advice is to pick a day when you don’t already have a migraine or you don’t have severe vertigo. Choose a day when you’re feeling stronger.

If you run for five minutes, I promise your day will be better. Your body and brain will learn the movement. And remember it. It’s called muscle memory, so the next time you run for 10 minutes, your body will remember that motion, that blueprint. It will remember that it’s done this before.

And you’ll remember that you’ve done this before.

If you're scared of taking that first step because it might trigger a migraine, start by walking. We’ll work up to the run.

I ran miles and miles in high school as a cross country runner with no problems. I could run 8 or 9 miles with no fueling plan, but starting back running after being stricken with migraines, I used to get migraines after just running 2 miles.

It’s been a slow process of teaching my body that I can go longer and further. Today, I don't get migraines after just 2 miles anymore.

So walk or run today. Show your body and head that you’re not limited.

*Please make sure your doctor has OK’d exercise.