The key to exercising outdoors with allergies is to be prepared. Here's a quick checklist of things
that any athlete with allergies should know.
- Check your calendar. Pollen seasons are predictable, although they might vary by a few days from year to year. So if you know that you're allergic to ragweed, oak, or other outdoor allergens, find out when the season starts in your area. Once you know, you can prepare. You can start taking your medicine before the pollen flies -- and you can anticipate problems by practicing the other tips below.
- Check the weather. Information about your local pollen level is available on the Internet or in your local paper. If pollen counts are supposed to be particularly high on a given day, you can play it safe by staying inside. In general, pollen counts are highest on warm and breezy mornings and low on cool and rainy days.
- Choose the right time of day. According to many experts, the time of day you choose for outdoor exercise matters. Choose morning or late in the evening because most pollens reach peak levels around noon or early afternoon.
- Sometimes, opt for less intense activities. If the pollen count or pollution levels are high, skip your usual jog or bike ride and
choose a less intense form of exercise. Why? The more stressful the
exercise, the faster you breathe; the faster you breathe, the more allergens nd irritants you inhale. So instead, do stretching exercises, or yoga, or weight training. Any of them will give you a workout without increasing your risk of allergy symptoms.
- Protect your eyes and lungs. To block pollen and other irritants from getting into your system during outdoor exercise, some people exercise with a mask or bandanna over their nose and mouth. Another trick is to wear goggles to protect your eyes from irritation from allergens.
looks of passers-by -- it's not a bad idea.
- Change your clothes and shower after outdoor exercise. During pollen season, your clothing and hair could be covered with pollen. So when you get home, it's not a bad idea to strip off your clothes and toss them in the laundry. You could also take a shower to rinse off any allergen left on your skin or in your hair.
- On bad days, exercise indoors. Most of the time, exercising outdoors should be OK. But sometimes, when pollen counts or ozone levels are high, or the weather is so cold that it irritates your lungs, exercising indoors can be a good temporary solution.
For more fitness tips and/or weight loss tips, contact our fitness director/certified personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi, at Noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com. For our latest weight loss program specials, visit www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com