Health & Wellness Articles

Exercising with Seasonal Allergies

Don't Let Allergens Interfere with Your Workouts

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During Your Workout
Here are some tips that will help prevent and reduce your allergy symptoms so you can exercise comfortably.
  • If you're allergic to dust mites, you can avoid breathing indoor dust by exercising outdoors.
  • If you're allergic to grasses and weeds, avoid these allergens by exercising indoors during the height of the allergy season.
  • Air pollution can trigger a tightening of the airways in sensitive individuals, making it difficult to breathe when exercising on sidewalks—and even up to 50 feet away from the road. Avoid contact with outdoor pollutants (near busy roads, for example) by exercising at low-traffic times and locations or exercising indoors.
  • If you're allergic to pollen and want to exercise outdoors, plan your workouts for times when pollen counts are lowest. They tend to peak between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., so skip an early morning workout in favor of an afternoon or evening exercise session.
  • If your seasonal allergies are severe, you may need to limit your outdoor workouts completely—especially when pollen counts are at their peak levels.
  • Remember that outdoor allergens like pollen can travel several miles. Although you may feel better when exercising further away from allergens like grass and trees, you may still exhibit allergy symptoms while on a tennis court, an asphalt track, or even at the beach.
  • To prevent itchy, watery eyes when outdoors, wear wrap-around sunglasses to prevent allergens and wind from compounding the problem.
  • Consider wearing a paper face mask to filter out allergens while you breathe heavily during exercise. Continued ›
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
Nicole was named "America's Top Personal Trainer to Watch" in 2011. A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, she loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Her DVDs "Total Body Sculpting" and "28 Day Boot Camp" (a best seller) are available online and in stores nationwide. Read Nicole's full bio and blog posts.

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Member Comments

  • HOLLYLEICHAVEZ
    One thing that helps me is having a heavy-duty hepa filter in the room all the time, exercise or not. I have itchy, watery eyes in the springtime and all kinds of congestion. A mask helps, otherwise I can't do it. I feel ridiculous when I wear it, though. - 3/30/2014 11:52:00 AM
  • As a nurse I just want to say yuck to wearing a mask while exercising. They are miserable enough at work. I don't want to try catching my breath with a mask that barely breathes. - 3/16/2014 6:29:31 PM
  • NJ_HOU
    I really liked the idea of chaing your clothes . I used to do that from the stuff that you can get on a plane. In fact, I use a neti pot to flush my nasal pkgs and have for years. I used to be a traveling consultant and the planes !!!! whatever they call it was a real mess. after learning to arrive in time to go to hotel, put travel clothes in a bag in the closet or near the door, wash my sinuses with a neti pot , take a shower , and then neti pot again. I found I rarely caught anything from the plane whatever. So why was it such a surprise to view the walk around the neighborhood as a simialr assault!! great info - 2/9/2010 2:23:32 PM
  • FLUBBERS
    I currently have a sinus infection, and maybe strep throat, and nasal allergies. But last night I walked my dog, and I felt great after! But I did make sure to take my medicine, we also took a break.
    I never thought about changing clothes when coming back in though. I will have to try that tonight and see if there is a difference. - 2/26/2009 11:09:08 AM
  • THEJOKESONME
    i actuall found that i feel much better when i exersize its really hard to start and i sometimes get a panic attack and really have to psyc myself but once i get going i really feel much better its a bit like mind over matter i haqve been struggling as the bush fires have been close to me and the smoke has really hit me bad but i really try to stay positive and i know at times it is very hard to stay positive - 2/19/2009 1:56:29 AM
  • THEJOKESONME
    i use a syringe without a needle some salt with luke warm water and vigorsly flush out all the mucus and clear my airways its easy to do and it has helped me a lot - 2/19/2009 1:49:20 AM
  • Having outdoor and indoor allergies plus Reactive Airway Disease really makes exercising hard in the fall...even yoga sounds too tough on days like today. - 10/11/2008 10:17:57 AM
  • Great article! I'd actually not had any allergy problems for well over 10 years, but the past couple of weeks have been BRUTAL for some reason. If you have sinus trouble, I highly recommend a Neti Pot. It's a tiny thing like a tea pot that you use to rinse out your sinuses, kinda like the saline spray but more direct. It sounds strange, but it's really easy to use and makes a huge difference. I can really tell that getting the pollen out of there before it can cause a worse reaction keeps it from hitting me so hard. It's also a life-saver during the dry air times in the winter or in a hotel!

    Peace. - 6/2/2008 4:25:15 PM
  • Great article. I made sure to nurse my babies to help prevent them from getting allergies, as I know it is a problem for many people. - 3/31/2008 3:02:56 AM
  • I found the information on this page very helpful. I have alergies and the tree pollen is the worst for me. Thank you. - 3/15/2008 3:19:28 PM

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