Stop The Excuses!
You Can Exercise If You Have Allergies
Have you ever uses your allergies as an excuse not to exercise? “My allergies
are so bad today, I just don’t have the energy”, or “I only feel worse after I
exercise outdoors, it is not worth it”. Allergies should not be a reason not
to exercise. Even if you have asthma, you can exercise. You just have to
find the right setting and the right exercise and properly prepare.
Allergy is an immune system disorder. Anything that has a positive or negative
impact on your immune system will have a corresponding effect on your allergies.
Actions you take to promote good health are actions that will be good for your
allergies. Just like a good diet, regular exercise will promote well-being and
increase circulation. This increased circulation will result in mast cells and
t-cells that can move much more easily and work more efficiently. It also means
that allergens will also move more quickly through the system and can be more
rapidly eliminated through the skin or kidneys. The smaller amount of time an
allergen is in your system the smaller amount of time it can cause cellular
inflammation. Researchers in Thailand discovered that running for 30 minutes
decreased symptoms of sneezing, runny nose and nasal congestion in 70% of the
subjects they studied.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) recommends that
you discuss your exercise plans with your physician. They may recommend that you
take medication before exercise (such as an antihistamine) or use your inhaler
if you have asthma. In addition, make sure your nasal passages are clear before
exercising. Whether you are taking medication as prescribed or use a neti pot or
other saline rinse, you want to make sure that your breathing is unrestricted
and that your nasal passages are able to filter air as intended.
The ACAAI also recommends that you avoid
exercising in cold dry air if you have asthma. If you exercise outdoors in cold
weather, wearing a mask or other face covering will allow the air to be warmed
before it is inhaled. For many with asthma, swimming provides excellent
exercise. The warm, humid air surrounding a swimming pool will not tend to
irritate the bronchial passages.
If you have dust mite allergies, you might be better off exercising outdoors or
at a fitness center. Your dust mite populations are going to be lower outside
than in your house. If you don’t like the idea of exercising outside, remember
that most fitness centers or gyms do not have carpeting, have good cir flow, and
are regularly cleaned which results in little dust settling in a gym. An extra
benefit of exercising inside is that the temperature is regulated, no matter the
Speaking of seasons, if you suffer from seasonal allergies you should avoid
exercising outside when pollen counts are high. This is most often early in the
morning. Exercising outdoors after a rainfall will help you avoid airborne
pollens. If you do exercise outdoors during pollen season, wear a mask that will
filter out the pollens but not restrict your airflow. After your workout, come
indoors and go straight to the bathroom to shower and change clothes. Your hair,
skin and clothing will collect pollens during your outdoor workout and you don’t
want to spread these pollens throughout your home.
If you are allergic to bee or other insect stings and you exercise outside be
sure to carry your Epi-pen with you. You should wear an allergy identification
bracelet or dog tag style necklace as well.
Avoid exercising in high pollution areas, such as near factories and large,
congested roadways. Exhaust fumes can irritate nasal and bronchial passages and
make breathing much more difficult.
Whether you are exercising inside or outside, it is important to stay properly
hydrated. While this is true of anyone exercising, it is very important if you
have allergies and take medication. Many allergy medications cause drying and
this will be compounded by the fluid loss during vigorous exercise.
In most instances, exercising with allergies is not a problem. However, exercise
induced anaphylaxis does exist. It is rare but life threatening. It can occur by
itself or concurrent with a food allergy. Food-dependent exercise-induced
anaphylaxis is not well understood. In these cases, ingesting the food alone or
exercising alone does not cause onset of symptoms but ingesting the food before
exercise does. As soon as the exercise ceases, the symptoms cease as well. If
you have exercise induced anaphylaxis be sure to follow your doctor’s
instructions for exercising carefully.
Don’t let allergies be your excuse not to exercise, make them your reason to
exercise regularly. Your immune system will thank you for your efforts.
Wishing you the best of health
The Allergy Store