Skip to content

Allergies Health Center

6 Ways to Keep Exercising With Allergies

Font Size
A
A
A
By Linda Melone
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD

When you have allergies, even short exercise bouts outdoors can be challenging. Follow these tips before heading outdoors to exercise to make your workout less itchy and sniffly.

1. Know Your Pollens

What triggers your allergies? It's important to know what you're allergic to.

There are different readings for different types of pollens. A tree pollen level above 50 is high, for example, while one to 10 is considered low. Check a web site such as that of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, which tracks pollen counts for trees, mold, weeds, and grass across the U.S.

2. Watch the Clock

The pollen count is highest between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. and again at dusk, so plan your workouts for other times of the day when pollen levels are lower.

If you go out during high-pollen times, wear a face mask designed to filter out pollens. As soon as you get home, rinse out your nose with saline to remove pollen. Some nose sprays will make it easier for you to exercise with high pollen levels. Ask your allergist.

3. Watch the Sky

Avoid outdoor exercise on dry, warm, windy days, which bring the highest pollen levels.

Many pollens cause eye problems, including a noncontagious form of "pinkeye" that others can't catch.

High humidity can cause problems, as well. If the air feels heavy, it can make breathing feel difficult. The humidity also contributes to mold growth, which can trigger symptoms in some people.

On the other hand, rain clears the air, making it a good time to go outdoors if you have allergies.

4. Pick the Right Exercise

Start-and-stop activities like tennis are more likely to trigger asthma symptoms in some people than activities that don't stop, like running.

Swimming is usually excellent for building up your lungs. Biking also is good. But chlorine from indoor pools can be irritating to some people, so use caution and leave the area if you have trouble breathing.

Running in cold weather also may trigger symptoms. Those problems usually are caused by spasms in your airways, which are not a true allergy. With proper treatment, you should be able to do any sport or activity without a problem. If not, you may need to take another look at your treatment plan.

Today on WebMD

man blowing nose
Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
Allergy capsule
Breathe easier with these products.
 
cat on couch
Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
Which ones affect you?
 

blowing nose
Article
woman with sore throat
Article
 
lone star tick
Slideshow
Woman blowing nose
Slideshow
 

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

cat lying on shelf
Article
Allergy prick test
VIDEO
 
Man sneezing into tissue
Assessment
Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching
Quiz