Spring allergies are in full effect, and for many people that means sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and congestion.
That’s because most environmental allergens are in the air, and when you’re moving quickly (or even just moderately) during your workout, you breathe more heavily, taking in more of them. This can cause allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes and runny nose.
If you’re one of the Americans with seasonal allergies, you may be wondering how your workout is affected by all the pollen in the air.
Allergists have some tips to help you stay on track with your training.
1. Get tested. If you’re not sure what your triggers are, an allergist can test you for a variety of allergens and help determine what’s causing your symptoms.
2. Use medication correctly. Over-the-counter antihistamines can keep allergy symptoms at bay while you work out, but they should be taken before you exercise, not after. Antihistamines can make you drowsy and affect your coordination, so take them ahead of time to avoid any mishaps while working out outdoors.
3. Don’t exercise outside when pollen counts are high. Timing is everything when it comes to outdoor exercise during allergy season. Pollen counts are generally highest between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., so it’s best to get your workout done before then or later in the day after the pollen count has dropped again.
4. Avoid hot days as much as possible. On dry, hot days, the air carries more allergens so it’s best to avoid them if you can. Exercise on cooler days with less wind. If you have to exercise on a hot day, try to find an indoor gym or pool instead of working out outdoors.
5. If you know what you’re allergic to — whether it’s pollen, grasses or mold — you can be aware of how much is in the air by checking local weather forecasts or websites that track allergens.