Fighting Off Hay Fever with Exercise

hay fever

Here comes spring season! The snow thaws, the flowers bloom, the trees grow thick with leaves, and the grass look greener than ever before. For many, this season is one of the most beautiful times of the year. While many bask in the gorgeous colours of spring, people suffering from hay fever dread the emergence of their allergy triggers.

Medical News Today explains hay fever as the allergic response of the body to airborne substances such as pollen and dust. For some, the season hinders them from exercising thus pushing them to go into hiatus from their workout routines.

Don’t fret, fitness enthusiasts! A study spearheaded by Professor Jean Emberlin, Scientific Director of Allergy UK, found that regular exercises can actually help improve hay fever symptoms. It also revealed that physically active people have milder symptoms as compared to their sedentary peers. Isn’t that motivation enough to stay physically active and not let those pesky allergies get the best of you?

Since we are not medical experts, do bear in mind that our tips and suggestions in no way count as medical advice. Here are some practical tips to help you maintain your exercise routines during spring.

STAY ACTIVE

According to a survey conducted by the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, people who exercised more had the least number of symptoms compared to those who did less. During this season of high pollen levels and dust, aim for at least two and a half hours of cardio per week in order to help beat off the hay fever. Remember to do moderate-intensity workout routines such as cycling, brisk walking, and running [TWEET THIS!].

If you prefer exercising outside than in a gym, Lindsey McManus, Executive Director of Allergy UK, suggests applying a barrier balm with Vaseline around your nostrils. This will help catch pollen before it enters your nose. Remember to reapply every time you wipe your nose.

HIT THE GYM

“Exercising will help reduce stress levels and can also help boost the body’s immunity. Just be sure to avoid exercising outside when the pollen count is at its highest – in the early morning and evening,” Emberlin said. It might be time to make a change if you’re used to doing your usual exercise in the great outdoors. During the spring, stick to the gym and indoor workouts to avoid the high levels of pollen and dust.

Instead, sign up for a membership at your local gym to keep active during hay fever season. The pollen-free zone will keep you from those pesky allergies and allow you to stay active and workout in peace.

WORKOUT AT A DIFFERENT TIME

Pollen levels vary throughout the day and unfortunately, peak periods are during early mornings, late mornings, and dusk, which are the common workout times. Instead of going on your usual morning run, a good tip is to choose a time in the day where levels are lower such as mid-morning and the afternoon.

With the magic of technology, you can easily check online and on apps such as FreshAir to find out when pollen levels are at its lowest thus allowing you to have a more comfortable exercise.

running against hay fever

ROUTE YOUR ROUTINE

Your usual running path may have high pollen levels thus making it more difficult for you to deal with hay fever and enjoy your workout. Avoid areas such as the park and gardens as these places are packed with pollens that are just waiting to trigger your allergies!

Limiting your exposure to areas with increased pollen levels will not only allow you to workout with ease but it can also keep you from your triggers! Who wouldn’t want a change in scenery after being so used to an old route? A change will do you well both aesthetically and health-wise!

LOWER YOUR STRESS LEVELS

Did you know that stress is also a factor in the severity of hay fever [TWEET THIS!]? The same survey by the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit found that people with high stress levels reported that their symptoms of hay fever were worse than those with less stress.

Exercise has been found to help reduce your stress levels and boost your mood by pushing your body to release its all-natural feel-good hormones, called endorphins. Find your center and lower your stress levels by practicing yoga and medication to allow yourself to calm down and increase your focus.

EAT HEALTHY

Your body is only as good as the food that you consume. In order for your body to overcome hay fever and beat the symptoms, you need to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet to keep your immune system strong.

Replace your unhealthy meals and snacks with foods that are rich in essential fats such as omega 3 and omega 6 which can be found in fish, nuts, and seeds. These foods have anti-inflammatory properties that may help in reducing symptoms. It’s a natural antihistamine!

LOSE THE BOOZE

Pollen and dust are enough to keep your allergies active. You don’t need any more factors to help trigger hay fever. Although barbeque parties and outdoor events are more common in the spring, it’s best for you to avoid drinking alcohol. Beer, wine, and spirits contain histamine which can trigger your allergies thus worsening the symptoms of hay fever.

Staying active during spring season is important especially if you want to cope with hay fever [TWEET THIS!]. However, if the symptoms become intolerable and too distracting during workouts, take the time to rest and allow your body to recover. With the proper balance of a healthy diet and regular exercise, you’ll be overcoming hay fever in no time!

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