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Epilepsy and Exercise: What Do I Need To Be Aware Of?

Exercise and Epilepsy: ExplainedThe benefits of regular exercise are endless. Partaking in some form of physical activity can not only help with weight loss, but encourage healthy skin and hair, improves your mood, and combats stress and colds to name a few.

Therefore it stands to reason that regular exercise can also be beneficial for those who have epilepsy and the subsequent effects seizures can have on their bodies. However, unfortunately many individuals steer away from exercise due to misunderstood preconceptions about the safety of exercise and epilepsy. So, rather than avoid the great outdoors, read on for reasons to dust off your running shoes:

Current Research Suggests Positive Link

There has been a spike in recent research suggesting that exercise and keeping yourself physically fit reduces the risk of seizures. In fact, the University of Lisbon states that people with epilepsy are not largely in danger of an increased risk of seizures caused by physical exercise as once believed.

According to Dr Elinor Ben-Menachem, a professor of neurology and epilepsy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, there are numerous relationships between fitness and neurological functions, especially in the developing brain. This is proven not only in reducing the risk of seizures for those who already have epilepsy but reducing the risk of those who may be diagnosed one day.

Researchers from the university looked at 1.17 million men, whom they followed for up to 40 years. During the process 6,796 men were diagnosed with epilepsy. Their results saw that those with high levels of fitness were about 80% less likely to develop epilepsy compared to men with low fitness levels thus suggestions exercise can aid epilepsy.

Safety Concerns

For many there are a number of concerns when taking up any kind of sport, whether that is joining the gym or taking part in a team sport. There are a number of aspects which stop people in their tracks including;

  • Fear of injury
  • Lack of knowledge of the benefits of exercise
  • Side effects of medication

However, exercise not only improves fitness but energy and mood thus alleviating stress, depression, and anxiety. It has been found that aerobic exercise often reduces seizure frequency, relives depression, reduces isolation, and promotes cardiac and general health.

It is important to understand that it is rare for someone to have a seizure whilst exercising. Although researchers can?t fully pinpoint the exact reasoning, studies demonstrate that abnormalities on EEG?s (tests measuring electrical activity on the brain) decrease during exercise.

Exercise and Contact Sport: What To Remember

As we have mentioned exercise is, in general, beneficial to everyone but can be particularly so for individuals with epilepsy experiencing subsequent side effects such as depression and anxiety. Whilst many put needless restrictions on the activities they participate in, depending on the exercise or activity there are a few simple rules you need to remember:

  • If changing your routine dramatically, or joining a contact sport such as rugby, consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise regime. You?ll need to discuss how often you have seizures, what happens when you have a seizure, how long they usually last, and what risk there could be for you and other people.
  • Stay well hydrated and ensure you pack a drink and sugary snack.
  • If you?re on a team make sure the appropriate people know that you have epilepsy and what they should do in the event of a seizure.
  • If you have uncontrolled seizures you should avoid dangerous activities like scuba diving, rock climbing, and skydiving as these sport require full and constant concentration which may be compromised should you have a seizure.
  • Talk to People ? Ensure that your friends and family know that you are heading to the gym or off for a run and tell them how long you will be. Equally inform your sports coach and team mates that you have epilepsy so that they are prepared and know what to do should you have a seizure.
  • Water sport safety ?? It is a good idea to swim with companions who are aware of your condition and are physically strong enough to support you. Additionally keep to swimming in supervised areas such as in a public pool or between flags at the beach.

More Help and Information

If you have epilepsy or care for someone who does, you could benefit from a range of epilepsy support monitors. All of our alarms and monitors have been designed to provide peace of mind and an increased independence for both individuals and their carers.

Why not give our experience and knowledgeable team a call on 01530 231 484 or 0845 217 9952 for more help and information regarding all of our assistive technology products.