Seasonal allergies can take a lot out of you, causing sinus pain and pressure, runny nose, itchy eyes, and general fatigue. Basically, when you’re bogged down with allergies, you probably won’t feel like exercising. But what if exercise could help to alleviate some of the symptoms?
As much as you may feel like hibernating in a hermetically-sealed room during allergy season, you need to continue exercising to maintain your health and reach your fitness goals.
If you stop your fitness routine, you will feel more sluggish anyway, even without factoring in the allergy symptoms. If done properly, you can minimize your exposure to pollen and alleviate some of the symptoms.
While exercise will never leave you allergy-free, it can make things better. When you work out, your circulation improves and gets blood pumping throughout the body. This will help your body to clear out the allergens in your system.
The improved circulation can also help blood to get to the delicate nose, mouth, and lung areas that can become inflamed with allergies. It also helps blood to move through the swollen sinus areas, which may help alleviate some of the pain and pressure.
While you may want to stay lying down when you have allergies, it’s important to get yourself upright and let gravity do its thing. Being upright will help the mucus to drain from your sinuses out of your nose rather than down your throat (which causes post-nasal drip and a dry cough.)
Being upright, moving around, and exercising will help to get the mucus (which contains the allergens bothering you) out of your system.
Exercising with a runny nose isn’t the most fun activity, but there are ways to make it easier. Before your workout, take a decongestant or allergy pill to minimize the symptoms. Alternatively, you could use a neti pot to clear out your sinus passages.
Even if you usually exercise outside, this is a good time of year to join an indoor gym. Not only will the climate-controlled interior keep you comfortable, but it will minimize your exposure to more allergens.
Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated; breathing through your mouth is very drying (since normally your nose would warm the air before it goes down your throat and into your lungs.)
Drinking lots of water will help to minimize the dry mouth and throat from mouth breathing and may help to flush out allergens. You might want to scale back on your usual workout, this isn’t the time to be pushing new limits in the gym.
Many allergy sufferers feel fatigued even without a workout – thanks to medications that make you drowsy or symptoms that interrupt sleep – so you need to be kind to your already tired body.
Give yourself plenty of recovery time, too. If you are having trouble sleeping, you may need more rest than usual to catch up from your workout.
Choose a workout and a speed that works for you in your allergen-riddled state. Take lots of breaks to blow your nose, drink water, and rest.
Consider exercises like yoga – some of the poses can help to drain clogged sinuses if you’re completely blocked. Allergy season is no fun, but hopefully a great, regular workout routine will help you to power through until there’s less pollen floating around.