What to do when allergens sabotage your workout
We’ve been cooped up all winter, and now that the weather is warming up it’s time to be outside riding bikes, walking, running and playing with the kids. But with the beauty of spring comes the misery of allergies. “As a pharmacist and long-time allergy sufferer, I’ve discovered how using natural remedies and lifestyle measures can help alleviate allergy symptoms so that you don’t have to hide indoors or suffer with drug side-effects,” says Sherry Torkos.
People can easily be sidelined from exposure to allergens including pollution, mold spores and pollen. “ When you’re outdoors, your body is exposed to many potential allergens that can trigger a cascade of miserable symptoms such as sneezing, congestion and itchy watery eyes.
Over the counter antihistamines can cause drowsiness and dry eyes and decongestants can cause racing heart, insomnia and even rebound congestion. Instead, Torkos has some natural suggestions to combat allergy symptoms:
Be careful about when you exercise. “Pollen counts are highest between 5am and 10am, so plan your outdoor exercise activities in the afternoon or evening or do it indoors.”
Use natural allergy relief eye drops. “Look for a product that can relieve itchy, watery, red eyes. I like Similasan Allergy Eye Relief because it contains natural active ingredients that help to stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal itself. It does not contain any dyes, vasoconstrictors, decongestants or steroids. Plus it can be used regularly without a re-bound effect. There’s also a kids’ formula, so the whole family can benefit.”
Shower before going to bed. “Microscopic allergens like pollen can stick to your skin, hair and clothes. Wash them off before your head hits the pillow so you’re not breathing them in all night long.”
Wear a hat. “Hats will help keep allergens from attaching to your hair in the first place. As an added bonus, they provide some sun protection.”
Remember your sunglasses. “They’ll help to protect your eyes from allergens and bugs while you are walking, bike riding or running.”
Fight allergy fatigue. “Fighting foreign invaders such as pollen and dust can be physically draining. Keep energy levels high by eating slow release (low glycemic) carbs, lean protein and healthy fats such as avocado, fish and chia seed. Avoid processed and refined foods which may contain chemicals that can worsen allergy symptoms and fatigue.”
Add allergy-fighting foods your diet. “Red apples and onions, raspberries and green tea contain quercetin, a natural antihistamine. Yogurt and kefir will give your body beneficial bacteria that can help support proper immune function.”
Drink lots of water. “You’ve probably heard it at least 100 times. Your body needs water to stay hydrated and flush toxins out of the body. Drink water before, during and after exercise.”
Use an air purifier. “Rid your indoor air of potential allergens by using an air purifier. Also use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA)filter on your air conditioner and change it monthly.”
Exercise indoors. “If your seasonal allergies still get the best of you when you’re outside, workout indoors. There are plenty of things you can do indoors, even without equipment, such as squats, lunges, stair climbing, sit ups and push ups. The key is to move your body.”