Published on: 08-Sep-2022
Epilepsy is one of the most common diseases that most young people struggle with today. Even though the world is better educated on the causes for epilepsy and how it must be handled (when compared to how it was stigmatized a few decades ago), there are still a few common myths and misunderstandings about what epilepsy is, what triggers it, and how to prevent it.
A common question that arises is if exercise can trigger epilepsy, or is it actually going to be beneficial in treating it. We’re going to dive deep into the reasoning behind this and explain everything you need to know to live a healthy, happy life despite the illness – let’s get started.
Exercise Reduces Stress — a Common Seizure Trigger
To understand how exercise is actually a safe activity for people who suffer from epilepsy, it’s important to first understand the basics – like what is epilepsy, how it gets triggered, and what kind of triggers should be avoided at all costs.
In short, it’s caused by abnormal electrical brain activity – which results in seizures. There’s no identifiable cause for this, but most people believe that it’s a genetic influence that causes this condition.
Some of the common triggers for people who already struggle with the condition include stress, menstrual pain, lack of sleep or extreme fatigue, flashing lights (though this is not a very common trigger), alcohol, and missed medication.
Keeping this in mind, it’s best to avoid activities that may act as similar triggers, for instance, if a person gets triggered by flashing lights, they should avoid watching videos with such visuals or going to places with extremely bright strobe lights.
Since stress is one of the most common triggers for seizures, it helps to find different ways in which stress-induced epilepsy can be reduced. Instead of burdening your system with more medication, exercise is a healthier alternative which naturally calms the mind and body. Let’s take a closer look at this in the next section.
How Exercise Helps Control Seizures
Stress is one of the leading factors for seizure attacks – in fact, most adults who work in corporate and other stressful environments struggle to keep up with the demanding lifestyle. On the plus-side, many people have sworn on the positive benefits exercising regularly has had on their body.
This is because exercising releases endorphins, a happy hormone which in general calms the mind and makes people feel at peace – thereby reducing the stress of everyday life. This is one of the primary reasons why even taking a walk can have an impact on a person’s mood, even if they don’t engage in an intense physical activity.
Exercise Tips for Those With Epilepsy
If you have this condition, then it’s a good idea to exercise your body on a daily basis to slowly see the benefits in the long run. However, there are some tips which you should keep in mind, to make sure you stay safe while also giving your body the exercise it needs to function well. Here’s a list we’ve put together to help you manage your exercise plan:
- Running, walking, swimming and cycling are some great ways for people with epilepsy to exercise their bodies. However, make sure you don’t physically exert yourself beyond your body’s limit.
- Avoid activities that could induce stress, such as running too fast on a treadmill, lifting weights beyond one’s capacity, stress training, mountain climbing, going on extremely long and tiring treks, and simply pushing your body beyond its limit during any activity you take part in.
- Avoid all of your seizure triggers – this could include going to a gym that’s calming (without any jarring lights or music), getting a good night’s rest the previous day so you don’t feel tired, and never forgetting to take your medication.
The post Is Exercise Harmful or Beneficial if You Have Epilepsy? appeared first on Sports Medicine Weekly.