Got a Headache? Try Working Out

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Regular exercise has been shown to reduce headaches by releasing endorphins - the body's natural painkillers - as well as improving blood flow to the brain and reducing muscle tension and fatigue. However, many common workout mistakes can actually exacerbate the pain, according to an article in the March issue of Fitness magazine.

"Most headaches develop when the blood vessels around the brain are inflamed, which stretches the nerves within and sends shock waves of pain," Dr. Merle Diamond, the coordinator of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago told Fitness.

Fitness editors suggest being on the lookout for the following exercise pitfalls, and explain how to fix them:

Improper breathing: Straining your core can rapidly increase blood pressure, giving you a headache. If you have to grunt to get through your exercise, make sure you focus on your breathing or reduce intensity.

Sudden sprinting: Easing into your workout can help your body adjust to the increased blood flow and reduce your chances of a headache.

Dehydration: Experts think that too little water can lower the pressure inside arteries that supply blood to the lining of the brain. Make sure to drink at least eight ounces of water an hour before you start your workout, and make sure to replenish.

Poor posture: As many as 75 percent of tension headaches originate from poor posture, according to medical experts. Bad form in the gym can make it worse. Consider adding yoga to your routine - the skills you learn will help you during other exercises.

For more tips, check out the current issue of Fitness, now on newsstands.
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