Balancing Allergies and Exercise

It seems like spring appeared overnight, along with seasonal allergies. 

The weather is finally warm enough to exercise outside but not without watery eyes, a sniffly nose, or a pounding headache from allergies. Luckily there are easy ways to balance allergy season with outdoor exercise!

First, it’s important to know your triggers. Talk to an allergy specialist to find out what sensitivities you have and research when those allergens are in full bloom. Different types of pollen are produced at different times throughout the day, so it’s important to know when to avoid and when to enjoy the outdoors. Plan your workout accordingly so you are exercising at the best time for your body.

Be proactive with self-care. Consider taking an over-the-counter or prescription medication to combat allergies on a daily basis, and wear sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes from pollen exposure. Stay hydrated! This is important at all times of the year, but especially in hot or humid weather.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends breathing through your nose during exercise to help filter pollen and other harmful particles. They also advise taking extra time to warm up and cool down, and to exercise on a mat instead of carpet when indoors.

Post-workout, make sure to wash off and change your clothes as soon as possible. If you can’t shower immediately, at least wash your hands and clean your nose and eyes with disinfectant wipes and eye drops. Change your clothes before you get into your car and clean off any equipment you used in the grass.

Listen to your body. If you scheduled an afternoon workout but are sneezing and struggling through your warm up, know when to call it quits and rest instead.

Lastly, remember that exercise has been proven to aid in alleviating certain allergy symptoms. Allergies cause the blood vessels in your nose to swell; effective exercise combats congestion by forcing blood to flow to the areas of your body that need it most, in this case your nose. A good sweat helps fight germs and helps detoxify your body of toxins.  Thirty minutes of daily exercise has also been proven to reduce risk of heart disease in patients with allergies.

Download our allergy checklist to help prioritize your health and wellness this season!