There’s no way around the fact that if you’re big on working out but you also suffer from allergies, one way or another, at some point, the two are going to collide. If you don’t properly prepare yourself, the after effects can be so physically challenging that you might even be tempted to not exercise as much just to avoid all of the “allergy drama”. And you know it’s pretty much bad news if it gets to that point. However, the good news is that there are preventative measures that you can take to keep your allergy symptoms at bay. Here are five of the top workout tips for allergy suffers who are also exercise enthusiasts.
First, know what you’re allergic to
When it comes to avoiding a lot of the side effects of an allergy, one of the first things that you need to do is understand just what it is that you are allergic to. For instance, if you’re allergic to carpet dust, it would probably be better for you to exercise outside. On the other hand, if you’re allergic to grass and/or pollen, working out inside might be more ideal. This is not to say that you always have to avoid the areas where you are more sensitive, but if you plan on doing a lot of cardio (which means a lot of inhaling and exhaling), applying this rule can make things a lot easier for you. As it relates specifically to pollen, it’s also good to note that pollen is at its peak between the hours of 5-10a.m., so afternoon or evening exercises are recommended for everyone.
Some people have outdoor allergies that are not so severe that they need to avoid being outside; they simply need to wear certain things that can serve as a form of protection. If you’re going to be exercising in your front or back lawn, you might want to put on some exercise gloves (equivalent to the weight lifting or bike riding kind) along with a pair of wraparound sunglasses that will serve as a barrier between the allergens in the air and your eyes. Also, when your workout is done, make sure to wash your hands before touching your face.
Watch your diet
Believe it or not, what you eat can play a huge role in how much you have to deal with when it comes to allergy symptoms. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, certain foods that you should avoid include: red meat (it makes the body work harder when it comes to digestion, which can weaken your immune system); dairy (helps to naturally produce mucus) and fruits like cantaloupe and watermelon and vegetables like cucumber and zucchini. That’s because all of these have chemical components within them that mimic ragweed. What you should add to your diet is a multi-vitamin, some flaxseed oil (the fatty acids tend to lower your body’s allergic response) and a pro-biotic to help build up your immunity.
Once you’re done working out, make sure to immediately shower and to not reuse the clothes that you worked out in until they have been washed. If you have an indoor allergy, while you’re exercising outside, it’s a good idea to have some room dehumidifiers running. It helps to lower the humidity in the room, which keeps dust mites and mold (two allergens that thrive on moisture in the air) at bay.
If after applying all of these tips, your eyes are still watering up or you can’t seem to stop sneezing, there’s nothing wrong with applying some eye drops or a bit of nasal spray. If your eyes tend to be itchy and/or watery, look for eye drops that are an antihistamine. If they tend to be redder, look for a brand that is a decongestant. When it comes to nasal sprays, Nasalcrom is a great one to use before exercising to combat allergens in the air. To cut down on nasal congestion, Afrin and Duramist are ideal. However, if your symptoms are severe, make sure to discuss them with your doctor or health care practitioner. They may be able to provide you with a prescription that will alleviate the symptoms altogether.