Spring has finally arrived!  For me, this means no more runs on a treadmill but rather, the ability to enjoy weather, scenery, and the smell of spring all while being physically active.  However, if you are like some people, the joy of spring bring nightmares to your senses.  The culprit: Allergies!


According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), allergies are an abnormal response of the immune system to substance, allergens, s in the environment.  Typical allergens include pollen, ragweed, grass, mold, animal dander and dust mites. Once exposed to these allergens, the body illicit an inflammatory response causing the allergy symptoms. Sneezing, dry, itchy eyes, runny nose, headaches, the symptoms of allergies could go on and on.  However annoying and frustrating these symptoms may be it does not mean your exercise routine needs to stay inside the gym walls.  When allergies are properly managed, you too can join the fun of being physically active outdoor!


Tips and Tricks for Exercising with Allergies:

  • Consult with an allergist prior to starting an exercise program

This may help provide you with insight on what specific  allergens you are most allergic to.

  •  Take all prescribed medication for your allergies

Taking the medication helps to reduce allergy symptoms

  • Breathe through the nose when exercising

The nose acts as a filter to allergens, pollutants, and irritants.

  • Exercise indoors during extreme temperatures and when allergen counts are high

Pollen counts tend to be the highest in the early afternoon

  • When exercising indoors, keep windows and doors shut

This helps to reduce allergen exposure

  • When exercising outdoors, make a point to know your environment and stay away from areas that contain high concentrations of allergens

Avoid fields, trees, busy roads, factories, etc.

  • Know the seasons

Pollen seasons are predictable so if you know what you are allergic to, find out when the season starts in your area.

  • Check the weather

Pollen level’s are available on the internet or your local paper. If pollen counts are high, stay inside.

  • Try less intense activities

If pollen counts are high, skip runs or bike rides and opt for less intense forms of exercise.  The more stressful the exercise, the faster you breathe, the more allergens you inhale.

  • Change your clothes and shower

After being active outside, your hair and clothing may be covered in pollen.  Therefore, it’s best to shower when you come inside to wash off any allergen residue .

Now that you have some tips and tricks to put in your back pocket,  it is time to get up and move. Start small as not ever tip and trick will work for everyone but think of it as a starting point.



American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

Web MD