Objectives: The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate an exercise program to improve maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max) in untrained patients with migraine without making their migraines worse. [VO2 max measures oxygen consumption and thus the body’s capacity to deliver & use it.]
Patients and methods: Twenty-six patients were studied at a headache clinic in Sweden. The exercise program, based on indoor cycling, was performed 3 times per week during 12 weeks. VO2 max, migraine status, side effects, and quality of life were evaluated.
• VO2 max increased from 32.9 mL/kg/minute to 36.2 mL/kg/minute (P = .044).
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• Quality of life increased
• And significant improvements in migraine status (attack frequency, symptom intensity, and intake of medicine) were seen.
• During the 12 weeks of exercise, on one occasion one patient had a migraine attack, which started immediately after training. No other side effects were reported. [“No worsening of migraine status at any time during the study.”]
Conclusions: The evaluated exercise program was well tolerated by the patients and improved their VO2 max with no deterioration of migraine status.
Source: Headache – The Journal of Head and Face Pain, Apr 2009; 49(4)563-570. PMID: 18783448, by Varkey E, Cider A, Carlsson J, Linde M. Cephalea Headache Centre; Institute of Neuroscience & Physiology and Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, Goteborg University, Gothenburg, Sweden. [E-mail: