NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Managing Allergies for Outdoor Exercise and Fitness in Summer

ThinkstockPhotos-186470186.jpgFor many who enjoy the summer months for different outdoor exercise and activities, allergies can be one of the most frustrating and challenging things to deal with. And if you are anything like me, simply popping a ton of pills to try and acclimate yourself to the outdoor environment isn’t ideal.

Summer Allergies Can Derail Your Fitness

You might be thinking to yourself, “Okay, if I go outside and get some fresh air, maybe this will open up my airways and help me to breathe better.” But it’s actually the opposite effect. When you are exercising, naturally you breathe harder. As you suck in more air, you are exposing yourself to more allergens that are floating around in the air.

Tips for Managing Seasonal Allergies Outdoors

Let me share some tips that can be helpful for you to manage those seasonal allergies. The key is to be prepared!

  • Be smart in your selection of activities. For example, if you have an allergy to grass, maybe you should choose to shoot some hoops on the cement surface instead of going for a round of golf.
  • Breathe in using your nose. The little hairs inside your nose act as a filter to try and stop some of those allergens from getting into your airways and lungs.
  • Check the calendar. Look for your allergies and when they are “in season.”
  • Check the weather. If you go to weather.com’s Allergy Tracker, you can find different levels of the allergens in the air.
  • Be cautious of running in a city. Sometimes where extra exhaust is present, additional irritation can occur with allergies.
  • Choose the right time of day. Early in the morning or later into the night are the times when the allergens in the air are at their lowest.
  • Be conscious of the activity level. If allergy levels are high, choosing a lower intensity level for your workout would be a good option.
  • Protect your eyes. Try and wear sunglasses if you can. One of the ways the allergens get into your body is through your eyes, so try to cover them.
  • Shower immediately after your workout. Be sure to take a shower and put on clean clothes to get all the allergens off your body.
  • Go inside. There are times when the levels are just too high to be outside if you are hypersensitive to certain allergens.

Even if you have allergies, it’s okay to keep doing things outside. Just be sure to monitor your body! Take just a few moments at the start of your day and try to plan around the peak times when the allergens will be at their highest level.

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This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: exercise fitness staying active summer outdoor allergies