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Exercise and Epilepsy

By HERWriter
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Living with epilepsy can be a real balancing act. When epileptic seizures are not well-controlled, one never knows when a seizure might hit. Life can be significantly pinched.

But being active need not be a casualty. According to an April 1, 2010 article on Medscape.com, the American College of Sports Medicine has encouraged those with epilepsy to embark on an exercise program that fits their needs.

The ACSM offered reassurance that in fact seizures are unlikely to happen while exercising, and the more you exercise, the less likely you are to experience a seizure.

Regular exercise can enhance your immune system, increase your energy, lower stress levels, regulate weight and help you get a better night's sleep.

It's important to consult with your neurologist before doing anything else. Be sure to take any medications as directed. A certified health and fitness professional can work with you and your doctor to develop a safe program.

If you're a beginner, start small, with short workouts of 10 to 15 minutes. You can slowly increase your activity to half an hour, up to five days a week.

Later you might consider adding strength training twice a week. The ACSM recommends one to three sets, 10 to 15 repetitions each. If you flourish on this level, you might want to try to add more days a week.

Yoga is gentle but effective exercise. Ehow.com suggests practicing qigong for 15 to 45 minutes at a time.

It was believed in the past that exercise would likely cause seizures but this view is changing. So is the belief that people with epilepsy need to live protected and limited lives.

An Ncpad.org article from April 11, 2011 maintained that appropriate exercise may reduce the frequency of seizures, especially aerobic exercise. It can relieve depression, increase cardiac health and promote a greater sense of well-being.

If an activity has ACSM approval that's a good start. For epileptic whose seizures are well-controlled, sports are even a possibility.

Of course, precautions and safeguards should always be in place. For people who haven't been active, moving right into extreme exercise may cause seizures.

Professionals monitoring the situation must be alert and not allow the epileptic to overdo activity they're not accustomed to.

Be aware that some epilepsy medications can make an epileptic slow, uncoordinated or inattentive. If weight fluctuates due to the exercise program, or if other changes occur, the doctor should be notified, and medication can be adjusted if need be.

Not every sport is a good idea for the epileptic. Scuba diving, rock climbing or combative sports, for instance, are not recommended. Still there's a wide range of activity for the epileptic whose seizures are controlled.


Epilepsy 101: The Basics

Exercising With Epilepsy: Prescription for Health

How to Do the Qigong Exercise for Epilepsy

Exercise Programming and Sports Participation for Individuals with Epilepsy

Reviewed July 11, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Alison Stanton

Visit Jody's website and blog at http://www.ncubator.ca and http://ncubator.ca/blogger

Add a Comment2 Comments

I also have seizures and I always had petite seizures around my period. Then I started going to the gym every day and started noticing around my period I either had no petite seizures or maybe 2. I was so happy! The more I did it the less I had them. Exercising really does help I very surprised that it was something as simple as exercising to keep my from having petite seizures. So I encourage people with epilepsy to go work out! It really works!!!

October 7, 2011 - 11:56pm
EmpowHER Guest

While I really find this article valuable, I am hesitant to share it with my friends who have epilepsy. The reason being, when you use "an epileptic" or "the epileptic", it segregates those with epilepsy into a crowd of their own, as if they are a subset of humanity. This is not true. That's what the new "people first" mantra is all about. Our health conditions only make up a small portion of our identities. It sounds wrong to use that as a way to identify people entirely. Let's define them as people firs! Please use the term "people/individuals/person with epilepsy" whenever possible. It is more supportive, uplifting, and humanizing :) Thanks!

July 12, 2011 - 11:23am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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