7 Great Exercises for People with Epilepsy

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Linda Wasmer Andrews on March 3, 2021
  • exercising-female-friends-smiling
    Exercise your right to better health.
    Having epilepsy increases your risk of developing high blood pressure and prediabetes. But with regular exercise, you can help manage those health problems. Staying active also eases depression, which is common in individuals with epilepsy. It combats bone loss—a side effect of certain antiseizure medications. And it may even reduce the frequency of seizures, based on preliminary research. Try these exercises to get on track toward better overall health.
  • couple-walking-down-city-street
    Lace up your walking shoes.
    Walking is easy and doesn't require any special equipment other than a sturdy pair of shoes. Yet it can be a big step toward better health. Going for regular, brisk walks helps protect your heart and lungs and control your weight. That's important, because people with epilepsy have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, emphysema and obesity. Choose fun, safe locations, such as a park or shopping mall.
  • Man riding bike on nature trails
    Hit the bike trail.
    Bike riding is a great way to boost your health and fitness while getting where you need to go. Protect your head by always wearing a helmet. If your seizures aren't totally controlled, steer away from heavy traffic. Stick to quiet side streets and bike paths, and ride with a buddy.
  • smiling-woman-in-swimming-pool
    Get into the swim of things.
    Swimming laps and doing water aerobics are wonderful ways to get fit. Just use caution, because a seizure in the water could be dangerous. Choose a pool with a lifeguard on duty, and make sure the lifeguard is aware that you have epilepsy. In addition, always swim with a friend.
  • Two young African American women playing basketball on playground
    Shoot some hoops.
    Active contact sports—such as basketball, soccer and ice hockey—can be a good workout for your heart and lungs. Many people with well-controlled epilepsy can play these sports. Just be sure to discuss them first with your doctor. Always wear protective headgear, because a head injury could make your seizures worse.
  • Varsity Volleyball
    Spike a volleyball.
    Volleyball and tennis are great for your bone health and overall fitness. Plus, the risk of sustaining a concussion is lower than in contact sports. That's especially important if you have a history of head injuries caused by violent seizures. Repeat concussions are more likely to cause severe or long-lasting problems.
  • a trainer is helping a person exercise on a mat
    Strike a yoga pose.
    Yoga classes typically combine physical poses with meditation or relaxation. As a result, yoga doesn't just increase strength and flexibility. It also reduces stress—a frequently reported trigger for seizures. A few small studies suggest that yoga may improve seizure control in people with epilepsy, but more research is needed to confirm that finding.
  • gym-weights
    Flex your muscles.
    Strengthening exercises should be a regular part of everyone's fitness routine. These exercises increase muscle mass, which not only makes you stronger, but also helps you maintain a healthy body weight. You can use hand-held weights, resistance bands, or weight machines. Or you can do strengthening moves such as push-ups, pull-ups, and ab exercises. When lifting heavy weights, have someone around who can help in case of a seizure.
  • Follow the Doctor’s Orders
    Check with your doctor.
    Ask your doctor what's safe for you. Many people with epilepsy can enjoy most sports. But you might need to avoid or modify a few high-risk activities. For example, you might need to avoid scuba diving, but you may be OK to snorkel in calm water with a friend who has lifeguard training.
7 Great Exercises for People with Epilepsy

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Last Review Date: 2021 Mar 3
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.