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Exercising with Hay Fever?

by A. Vogel USA, on 17 June 2016, Allergies
Exercising with Hay Fever

Don’t give up!

Feel worse after you’ve been to the gym? Do itchy eyes and sneezing affect your game? Hay fever and allergic reactions can wreak havoc on your workout schedule and have an affect on your ability to enjoy outdoor sports or activities. From disruptive breathing, nasal congestion, loss of concentration and energy, allergies can destroy a solid workout.

But don’t give up on exercise. Why? Current research conducted by Professor Jean Emberlin, Director of Pollen UK, finds that regular exercise can actually help improve your hayfever symptoms. The study found that those who are most physically active tend to have milder symptoms than those who do  little or no exercise, and recommended that hayfever sufferers should try to incorporate five x 30-minute sessions of exercise each week.

So what can you do if you want to be more active, but those pesky hay fever symptoms are preventing you from exercising?

Whether you’re hitting the gym or braving the outdoors, follow these helpful tips for exercising better with hay fever.

Avoid exercising when pollen is high.

During the hay fever season, even though the weather is generally better and you’re more inspired to get out more and enjoy activities in the sun, it’s best to avoid exercising outdoors when pollen is high.

Unfortunately the most common and convenient times to workout (first thing in the morning and early evening) are also the same times when pollen is usually at its highest. A good tip is to try to fit your workout in during lunchtime, exercising in late morning or afternoon when pollen levels tend to be lowest.

Plan your exercise route.

If you can’t reschedule your workout times to when pollen levels are at their lowest, then try to limit your exposure to areas where it is highest. If out running or walking, avoid wooded areas such as parks and gardens.

Knowing where and when pollen is likely to be high is vital.

Exercise indoors.

If pollen levels are really high it’s a good idea to stick to indoor exercise, for example at your local gym, swimming pool or indoor tennis courts. However, believe it or not, the gym could be bad for you. If you’ve just signed up for a gym membership and seem to be suffering from one infection after another, then this could be due to the damp atmosphere making it easy for humidity-loving viruses to infect your respiratory system.

Harsh cleaning chemicals used in changing rooms and swimming pools can also trigger sensitive respiratory systems and cause nasal reactions.

Remember pollen sticks!

Dry your sports gear indoors rather than on the washing line, as damp clothes collect pollen. When you get in, get undressed in the bathroom, not the bedroom, because there may be pollen on your clothes and you don’t want it floating around the bedroom making you sneeze during the night and disrupting your sleep.

It might sound a bit strange but having a shower before a workout can wash away any pollen that has collected on your body and hair, which can help you workout better as it stops pollen irritating you as you exercise.

Eat to beat hay fever

Arm yourself for the hay fever season by eating the right foods. Opt for lots of fruit and veggies, which are high in immune-boosting vitamin C and act as natural antihistamines.

Did you know?

  • Hay fever is the common term used for pollen allergies.

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