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How to exercise outdoors during allergy season

During fall, ragweed pollen and mold spores are the main triggers of seasonal allergies. These triggers may leave you sniffling and sneezing or your eyes may be itchy and watery.  

Although allergies can put a damper on your workout if you're an outdoor exercise enthusiast, you don't need to put your favorite workout on hold for the entire allergy season. Of course, there are times when the severity of your allergies may win out over your desire to exercise outside. But you can often enjoy your favorite outdoor activities by making a few minor modifications and being prepared.

Here are 9 ways to exercise more comfortably during fall allergy season:

  1. If you need medication to manage your allergies, start taking it before symptoms flare up.
  2. Stay indoors with windows closed when counts are too high. Pollen counts are typically higher on dry, windy and sunny days.
  3. If mold is a trigger for you, avoid areas with damp leaves or brush.
  4. Avoid exercising in locations where triggers may be higher, such as in a park or a meadow.
  5. If you want to exercise outdoors but find your allergies bother you, do something less intense. For example, go for a walk instead of a run.
  6. Wear sunglasses and a hat to keep pollen and mold spores out of your eyes and hair.
  7. Change your clothes as soon as you come in after being outside.
  8. Shower and wash your hair before going to bed to keep sheets and pillows free from allergens.
  9. Know your limits. Sometimes you just need to skip the outdoor workout when allergy symptoms are bothersome.

The best way to decide if you should workout outdoors or give it a rest is to pay attention to how you feel. Some people feel better getting in some physical activity, even when their allergies flare up. But if your symptoms are severe, take a break from your usual routine.

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Date Last Reviewed: August 27, 2018
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD
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