How to stay fit whilst battling allergy season
Monday 15th September
Most of us have been enjoying the summer, but with the warmer weather comes a higher pollen count. One in four of us suffer from hay fever, experiencing sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose as the most common symptoms. This can be particularly frustrating for those that are trying to stay fit over the summer months, who may be put off going outdoors where symptoms can be easily aggravated.
Just because you suffer from allergies doesn’t mean your health needs to suffer too. We’ve put together some top tips for those that are looking to stay fit over the summer, despite the irritation of allergies.
Change your routine
For many people, the morning is the best time of the day to exercise, but it’s also one of the worst times in the day for allergy sufferers. The pollen count peaks between 6am and 10am so try and avoid exercising outdoors around this time. Aim for early afternoon wherever possible, as the pollen count begins to rise again by late afternoon. The pollen count also drops after a rainy spell, so this can be a great time to get out for a run.
Keep it shut
Try and keep your windows and doors shut as much as possible, particularly during these peak times. It’s also a good idea to get changed when you get in from a day outdoors to avoid bringing pollen into the house with you. If possible, take a shower to wash off the pollen particles and avoid line-drying your clothes and bed sheets outdoors if you can, particularly when pollen counts are high.
Know the count
…and know your tolerance level. Some people may be affected by a low pollen count, but for others may only experience allergy symptoms at a high pollen count. There are several ways of checking the pollen count, such as watching the local weather forecast or looking at dedicated websites online, so try to stay on top of it when you can and plan accordingly. If the pollen count is set to be particularly high, then schedule your workout for another day or bring it indoors.
Protect your eyes as much as possible from pollen, by wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes. Depending on the severity of your allergy, it may be worth getting a face mask to wear when doing outside jobs like cutting the grass, when your response will be heightened.
It may sound obvious, but remember to bring an oral antihistamine with you to keep symptoms at bay when you’re out and about. There are also eye drops available, many of which that are suitable for contact lens wearers, which will help soothe itchy eyes, as well as nasal sprays, to avoid nasal congestion and allow you to breathe easier. As with any medication, make sure you always read the instructions before administration. If in doubt, go to see your GP, to see what route to allergy relief suits you best.
The main thing is not to let your allergy stop you from exercising. Funnily enough, the adrenaline released by exercise actually dampens your allergic reactions temporarily, so allergy season doesn’t have to mean the end of being fit and healthy.