The arrival of spring has many people looking forward to exercising outdoors. But if you have seasonal allergies, the thought of going for a walk or a run outside during this time of year may make you want to cringe.
“Spring is one of the most challenging times of the year for those affected by allergies,” said Dr. Shaun Corbin, an ear, nose and throat specialist on the medical staff at Maury Regional Medical Center. “Sneezing, itching and congestion are among the symptoms that can occur when allergens like tree pollen are so plentiful.”
No one wants to be stuck indoors when beautiful spring weather is summoning you outside. Here are some tips that may help you exercise outdoors without being sidelined by allergy symptoms:
- Know your triggers. Different allergens may be more bothersome on different days or at different times of the day. For example, pollen is typically higher in the morning, while mold spores are higher midday.
- Check allergen counts. Before heading outdoors, check allergen levels by watching your local weather forecast or visiting the National Allergy Bureau website. If counts are high for your triggers, switch to an indoor workout.
- Cover your head and eyes. Wear a hat and glasses to keep pollen from sticking to your hair or getting in your eyes, which can be irritating.
- Use saline. Saline nasal sprays help clear out allergens and can loosen up mucus in your nasal passage. If you need to take allergy medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the best time to take them so they don't leave you feeling tired.
- Stay hydrated. Make sure you drink water, especially when allergies are bothering you or weather is hot and humid.
- Change clothing. Remove shoes by the door or leave them outside. Change clothes and wash in hot soapy water to avoid tracking allergens around the house.
- Take a shower. Pollen sticks to your body and hair so take a shower to wash it off, especially before heading to bed.
- Be flexible. Some days you'll be able to exercise outdoors without issues, while other days it's better to switch to an indoor workout. Or you may need to split your workout into an indoor and outdoor component to reduce exposure.
“If you take allergy medications, speak to your doctor or pharmacist about the best time of day to take the medicine so that you get the most benefit,” said Dr. Corbin.
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Date Last Reviewed: January 25, 2018
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor