In a new Hallway Conversation, Dr. Joseph Sirven talks with Dr. Elinor Ben-Menachem about whether exercise prevents seizures. The two also talked earlier this year about "Exercise and Epilepsy." Interest in the role of exercise to improve health is in the news almost daily. So does this pertain to people with seizures and epilepsy? How about parents and other family members?

The answer is YES! Exercise is good for everyone, and we all should look at how we fit it into our lifestyle.

  • Can exercise improve seizure control? There have been reports of this for many years, but we are just beginning to see research into this area. Dr. Ben-Menachem shared insights that suggested higher levels of physical fitness may lessen risks of seizures. Animal research is also beginning to show ways that epilepsy may be affected by exercise.
  • Does exercise worsen seizures? Some people report that seizures occur more often during certain types of exercise, but this happens infrequently. If you've noticed seizures occurring during or after exercise, talk to your doctors. They can help you figure out if it is the type of exercise or if the seizures could be related to something else.
  • Could people benefit from exercise in other ways? YES
    • It's good for your mood – it lessens depression and improves mood overall.
    • It's good for your thinking and memory. Studies of exercise in general show improvements in attention, memory, and other cognitive functions in people who exercise.
    • Exercise is important for your heart, lungs, and general health.
    • Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and builds strong bones – both very important to people with epilepsy since seizure medications can affect weight and bone health.

If you exercise now, keep it up. If you're worried about what type of safety precautions may be needed due to seizures, talk to your doctor or nurse.

If you don't exercise regularly, rethink it and see how you can start small to build it into your daily schedule.

Be sure to check out the Hallway Conversations with Dr. Ben-Menachem for more on Epilepsy and Exercise!

Have a safe and active week!

Authored By: 
Patty Obsorne Shafer RN, MN
Authored Date: 
Wednesday, October 9, 2013