Exercising outdoors during the spring can be challenging if you suffer from seasonal allergies. Other than staying inside, what can you do? First things first, know what you are allergic to. Is it pollen, ragweed, grass, mold or something else? Then, pay attention to the pollen seasons. They are typically predictable. Also, be advised that warm breezy days are typically the most likely to have the highest pollen counts and pollen can travel for miles. As far as what time of day has the least amount of pollen, it is pretty controversial. Some say pollen is lowest in the morning and evening while others say it is at its highest during those times. So how do you exercise outside and not be miserable?
- Wear sunglasses that wrap around or goggles. This will keep the pollen from getting in your eyes. Using a lubricating eye drop may help as well.
- Go at a lower intensity. Higher intensity activities such as running or cycling increase your breathing rate more than lower intensity activities, which means breathing in more pollen. Or, you can opt for a paper mask to filter the air you are breathing, just be sure you are still getting enough air.
- Take a shower and change into clean clothes as soon as you get back inside. It can take the body up to an hour to react to allergens. In addition, your body produces adrenalin while exercising which helps temporarily reduce the allergic response. Also, consider cleaning your nose out with a saline rinse.
- Start taking you allergy medications before the season begins and stay consistent with them during the height of allergy season.
- Factors such as being tired, stressed, jet lagged, or having your period can make your body more susceptible to a severe allergic reaction. Listen to your body to make sure you are up to an outdoor workout.
- Worst case scenario, try swimming, yoga, a group fitness class (such as one of my boot camps) or any other indoor workout you have access to.