Exercise and Cluster Headache: Make a Plan

Please have a pen and notebook ready before you begin to read. Then follow the instructions.

A man walks into a bar and issue a challenge another, “I bet that I can beat you in a foot race”. 

Now, the person he was talking to at the bar wasn’t just some person off the street who never ran a day in his life.  This was James Fixx.  He invented running as a pastime.  He even wrote the book “The Complete Book of Running: — the quintessential bible of running.  James didn’t recognize the individual and thought this would be an easy, winnable test.

A course was set up in the bar from one end to the other.  However, the first person decided to make a modification and put eight bar chairs between the start and finish line.  Jim decides he can still do this fairly easily.  The race starts and Jim believes he has this.  The other guy is flying through the course, jumping over each and every chair with ease, easily beating James.

James says to the man, “That was amazing!  I thought had you in the beginning.”  Catching his breath, he says; “I didn’t get your name.”  

The person says “My name?  My name is Renaldo Nehemiah.”  Renaldo Nehemiah is former pro football player and the first person to run the 110 meter hurdles in under 13 seconds. He was ranked #1 in the world for four straight years.

Know yourself

What type of person are you?  If you have a petite body of a dancer, you can still be a powerlifter but the road will be harder.  If you have the body of football player (myself), you can still dance.  It will be harder.
Write down [Your body type].
Do you have bad shoulder, or a knee that was replaced and doesn’t work like it used to?  Then design your program with a gradual incline in exercise in those areas.
Write down [Any limitations].
If you hate boring repetition (who doesn’t), design your program with exercises you like.  Then change them periodically.  Do you like running, or do you like the solitude of being one with yourself using Yoga or Tai-Chi?  Instead of that, do you love animals?  Is one of the greatest things taking your dog(s) for a walk.  It all counts.
Write down [things that make you happy].

Know your challenge

Sometimes people want to solve problems before understanding what they truly are.  Sometimes we rush way too much, going in any direction at top speed without asking why.  Define your problems  Do you have trouble walking up a flight of stairs? Maybe you need to work on extending your endurance.  Does light vacuuming or laundry wear you out?  Maybe we need to work on your muscles in the back and shoulders.  Can you pick up your grandchild?  If not, maybe you should work on your arms and chest.
Write down [activities you want to do or do better].
Maybe you absolutely hate the way you feel after having a bad cluster—like you were dragged by a truck down a rocky dirt road.  You are worn out.  You hurt everywhere.  Your muscles ache—especially the ones you hurt while breaking your fall.  You want to sleep for a million years, but your family and friends want some of your time. It seems like all you want to do is sleep.  We can try to help with this too.
Write down [bouncing back after a cluster].

Know your obstacles

In the fable above, James may have given up hope because he sorely underestimated his competition.  Ask yourself if this is a race against something, someone, or yourself?  You are racing against yourself, at the very least, along with other obstacles. So don’t design an exercise program that will compete with your schedule, your habits, or other’s expectations.  James might have won the race had the situation not changed to favor his opponent.  Adding the chairs became an obstacle that James wasn’t prepared for.  It caused him to fail.  Take into consideration your daily demands, schedules, commitments.
Write down [any perceived obstacles].
Know your physical limitations.  Have you exercised before?  Has your schedule changed recently?  Are you making enough time for yourself?
Write down [good time to exercise].
This is just a guess.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t work out. You can change it later.  In the beginning, a good exercise program should take less than 20 minutes (counting stretching and actual exercise).

Have faith in yourself

The only other thing required is belief.  A famous mathematician, Pascal said “Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false?” You have to, at the very least, believe in yourself.
Write this down [Where you want to be in 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and one year].
Now visualize each destination as a step of your journey.

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