Allergies affect approximately 30 percent of adults in the U.S. Considering that 23 percent of U.S. adults exercise regularly, there’s significant overlap between people who exercise and people who suffer from allergies. It’s also important to consider how many more people would lead active lives if they weren’t hampered by pollen, mold spores and inflammatory food.

Don’t let these allergens keep you from reaching your fitness and lifestyle goals. Taking the following steps will quicken your journey.

Exercise more to reduce the effects of hay fever

Ironically, the thing that allergies prevent you from doing is one of the best allergy treatments. A survey conducted by the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit found that people with hay fever (nasal inflammation caused by allergens such as pollen) see their symptoms improve when they exercise regularly. Apparently, this happens because exercise decreases stress, including the stress that people have over their allergies.

Two other ways to limit the effects of pollen during exercise are to check pollen counts in your area before embarking on an outdoor workout and change the times you exercise to early morning and early evening when pollen is less abundant.

Woman stretching on yoga mat, at sunset
Who says you have to sit on the sidelines when you have allergies? ©Klaus Vedfelt

Check the mold levels in your workout spaces

Mold spores are a common allergen that affect many active people without their knowledge. Mold can accumulate covertly in houses, gyms, and any other place where you live and exercise, weakening your immune system and delaying your goals.

For this reason, buildings should be inspected for mold. You can do this yourself or hire a professional. Mold tests are done by using a vacuum pump and a spore trap to check for airborne mold, or by swabbing a mold-damaged surface to check for the presence of spores.

If mold is found, it can be removed with antimicrobial spray, an air scrubber, dehumidifier, or by removing the afflicted area.

Avoid inflammatory food

The FDA estimates that 90 percent of allergic reactions are caused by food – and only eight foods account for this staggering percentage: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans.

Symptoms from such food allergies aren’t usually as obvious as they are in movies. Rashes, itchiness, diarrhea and fatigue are all signs that inflammatory food has compromised your immune system. Other foods that can cause inflammation are fried food, soda, red meat and margarine.

Reducing your intake of common food allergens and consuming leafy greens, berries, olive oil, fatty fish (if a fish allergy isn’t present), whole grains and other anti-inflammatory foods may drastically improve your well-being.

Grilled chicken breast with Mediterranean sauce in cooking pan and ingredients: tomatoes, artichokes, olives, sun-dried tomatoes,figs, anchovies, fresh seasoning herbs and spices on dark rustic table with vintage kitchen utensils , top view.
Eat right. Feel right. ©VICUSCHKA

Allergies don’t have to be an obstacle in the way of achieving your fitness goals. Exercising regularly, avoiding pollinated areas, keeping your space free of mold, and eating healthy food can keep debilitating allergens at bay. Your mind and body will thank you.


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