Lifestyle is a very important component of one’s wellness.
This topic includes exercise, smoking, sleep, diet and many other components which we can control based on the various choices we make everyday.
FACT: Studies show that people with epilepsy are only half as active when compared with age- and gender-matched populations, and objective aerobic measurements confirm the poorer physical fitness of individuals with epilepsy.
People with chronic conditions (such as epilepsy) are often overprotected. This may lead to isolation, loneliness and physical inactivity of the affected individual. Regular physical training has been found to contribute to the resocialization of many people who have epilepsy. It is crucial, therefore, that people with epilepsy become involved in a variety of activities including those that promote physical activity. Exercise contributes to both mental and physical health. It can improve heart functioning and provide psychological benefits of enhanced self esteem and increased social interaction.
Benefits of Regular Exercise
- feelings of being more alert
- post-exercise feelings of well-being
- decreases in body fat, which result in people looking and feeling better.
While there has been some concern that exercise may trigger epileptic seizures, various studies have found that this is not generally true (although for some people exercise may be a trigger for seizures). One study was performed on a number of adults with uncontrolled epilepsy who underwent an intensive exercise program of 45 minutes of exercise 3 times per week. It was found that physical activity did not represent an important seizure-inducing factor in general, and in most people physical training appeared to have a favourable influence.
However, always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. Personal restrictions on physical activity will depend on both the level of seizure control you’ve achieved and the type(s) of seizures you experience. Keep in mind that researchers have found that even people who have not achieved seizure control can also benefit from physical activity but need to carefully select their exercise activities and follow precautionary measures.
There are some restrictions on the types of activities which should be avoided by people who have epilepsy.
In most cases, the following should be avoided:
- mountain climbing
- sky diving
- high tower diving
- scuba diving
As well, if your seizures are uncontrolled, you should not participate in sports likely to cause head injury:
- horseback riding
- bike riding.
Participation in extremely physical sports
or recreational water sports
- water polo
will depend on how well your seizures are controlled.
Participation in many other activities, such as swimming, is generally acceptable