So, you may have noticed that we live in a pill popping culture. What I mean by this is, medications are used to treat everything! When you have a headache, you take a pill. When you have joint pains or body aches, you take a pill. As a whole, we are far too quick to take pills to solve all of our health problems. However, exercise can be one of the best natural remedies for common ailments and it is far too often overlooked as an effective treatment.

Important note – I am not a doctor. Every single body is different. What is right for me may not be right for you. Always consult a trained physician.

Common Ailments That May be Decreased and/or Effectively Treated With Exercise

Headaches & Migraines

I have suffered from migraines since I was seven years old and have been on numerous medications to help prevent them from occurring. Over the years I have found that physical exercise is one of the best ways to help treat a normal headache and/or prevent the onset of migraines. The hardest part is getting in physical activity when you are experiencing a headache, believe me I know! When I experience a normal headache, physical activity is always my first choice to treat it and for me personally, this normally fixes me right up!

I have also noticed a decrease in the frequency and severity of migraines and I attribute this much to simply getting in regular cardio. Meaning on weekly I make an effort to do an hour of cardio at least three times a week.

Keep in mind there is contradicting scientific evidence that does state exercise may actually trigger migraines. Do what’s right for your body and always talk to your doctor first.

Depression

Again, as someone who has struggled with depression since 14 years old, I have been on some very strong medications that ultimately had some pretty severe side effects. Five years ago, I opted to go off all of my medications and attempt to treat my disorder naturally. I did this under the care of a medical physician and had regular visits with a psychiatrist. This was not easy. I definitely struggled, but I am still medication free to this day and I now rely heavily on exercise to help treat my disorder.

I just feel better after a workout, but I get it, dragging yourself to the gym when you are feeling depressed is no easy feat. In my opinion, sitting at home by yourself is the worst thing you can do if you struggle with depression. I force myself to the gym to be around others as well as take advantage of those feel good feels you get after a workout.

Body Aches and Pains

Normally body aches and pains, we all get them. However, most of us opt to be sedentary when we are experiencing these. Think about it, the last time you had a relatively normal body ache what did you do? You probably hung out on your couch and maybe iced or used heat on the area, right? Well, physical exercise, in some cases, can be the best way to treat aches and pains. Light low-impact activity may actually help to ease normal body aches and pains.

So, what’s normal? That is for a doctor to decide and diagnose. It is always best to see a trained physician to get a proper diagnosis and ask if exercise may be used as a treatment.

My Favorite Exercises to Treat Ailments Naturally

Yoga – One of my favorite ways to help treat a normal headache, plus the health benefits of inversions are endless, read more about them here

Cardio – Whether it is cycling, running, or using the elliptical, cardio is one of my favorite ways to naturally boost my mood and help keep my depression under control

Swimming – For normal aches and pains, swimming is a fantastic low impact exercise that can help ease knee pain, back aches, etc.