April 12, 2019

How to Keep Seasonal Allergies From Ruining Your Workout

We all have our own ritual when it comes to getting ready for exercise -- whether it be double knotting your favorite running shoes or doing your stretching routine to a specific song. If you have allergies, you’re probably missing a few important steps to that pre-workout ritual. These steps will be essential for you to be able to stay breathing easy throughout your exercise.

Preventing allergies before you workout:

  • Plan your outdoor exercise for the morning or when winds are low. The worst time of day to exercise outside is in the afternoon when winds are picking up. There is typically more traffic of pollutants and irritants that are combined with allergies, making it miserable to be outside. Ragweed counts are usually highest in early midday and grass pollen usually peaks in the late afternoon or early evening.
  • Always check your local pollen count. A google search or your local news station can give you an idea of how bad the day is going to be. If pollen is high, take your preferred antihistamine and nasal spray (Flonase or Nasonex) before you go out.
  • If pollen is exceptionally high, switch to something you can do indoors at the gym or at home like jump roping, swimming, or Pilates. Depending on the severity of allergies, sometimes over-the-counter medicine will not be enough for you to be symptom-free outside.
  • When doing something dusty like the mountain biking in the El Paso mountains, you’ll want to make sure you protect your eyes with glasses, and you may want to wear a bandana to prevent inhaling and ingesting extra dirt.

Is it safe to workout with allergies?

Actually, studies show that in some cases light to moderate might actually help your allergies. Exercise can help boost your immune system and increase blood flow. This can help speed up the process in which allergens are moving through your bloodstream and actually decreases inflammation and irritation.

If you are still unsure about exercising, follow the “below the neck”  rule. If you start to feel bad from the neck down, then think again about working out. If you are chest coughing, wheezing, or having heart pains, it could flair up an asthma attack and worsen allergies. It is best to rest and not overexert your body. 


Should you exercise outside if you have allergies?

Yes, you can. But ultimately we suggest that you listen to your body. If you are feeling extra fatigued, sneezing, and have itchy or watery eyes then it might be best to do an inside workout.


Preventing allergies after your workout

Take a shower immediately after getting home. Allergens can also collect onto clothing as well, so toss your dirty clothes in the laundry and wash them off. On especially bad days, a nasal rinse is great to clear out your nasal passages from pollen, dust, and any other allergens. You’d be amazed at the amount of pollen your skin, clothes, and hair can collect just from a five-minute walk around the block.

If you’re exercising in a heavily wooded or grassy area, wear appropriate clothing like a long sleeve micro-fiber shirt. Most people are allergic to a number of different weeds, grasses, and trees, so running around in them is going to affect your body.

Keep your shoes outside. Bringing shoes after being outside can let a lot of unwanted pollen inside your home.

Understand what you’re allergic to:

An allergy test will give you an in-depth analysis of what you’re allergic to and how much it affects your body. From this point, you can tackle the problem at its source through immunotherapy, and achieve years of relief. 

Treatment and prevention for seasonal allergies

While working out might not be the most fun thing to do, working out with allergies can make it a whole lot worse. Seek treatment if your life is being negatively impacted by your allergies. 

Allergy drops 

  • Allergy drops can help build your resistance to allergies without weekly trips to the clinic! They are typically used to treat environmental allergies. They are also equally as effective as allergy shots and are extremely safe. The typical length of treatment is three to five years for long-lasting relief. 

Allergy shots 

  • Allergy shots are performed on a weekly or monthly basis in the office, as there can be a potential for allergic reactions. can also be used to treat seasonal and environmental allergies like molds, pollen, dust, and animal dander. The length of treatment for allergy shots is also three to five years. 

Exercising can be tiring enough as it is; don’t make it worse by needlessly suffering from allergies. They can be easily treated so your health and performance aren’t compromised. Be healthy and breathe better. Book an appointment today!

About The Author:

Jofy Kuriakose, APRN, FNP-C