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Exercise and Allergies

Welcome to allergy season! With the beginning of spring we begin the seasonal allergy gauntlet. Early spring brings tree pollen in spring. Grass pollen flies in late spring and early summer with only a brief respite before ragweed pollen in late summer and fall.

If you have seasonal allergies you may have experienced some of the common symptoms:

  • Itchy, watery eyes

  • Runny nose (clear, runny discharge)

  • Post nasal drip

  • Cough

  • Congestion

  • Swollen, blue skin under the eyes

  • Fatigue

While these symptoms may not make you want to exercise, consistent physical activity can actually help mitigate allergies. Here are a few tips to follow to make exercising enjoyable even as pollen counts rise.

Location, Location, Location

While being outside is one of the joys of spring and summer, exercising outdoors can trigger allergies. Being inside is preferable if you are experiencing an allergy flare-up or don’t wish to have one. If you exercise outside, avoid lawn mowers, freshly mown lawns, and places you can see pollen or plants that you know agitate your allergies.

Avoid the Pollen Trifecta

Pollen moves most freely in hot, dry, and windy conditions. You can use this pollen forecaster to know the pollen count before you head out!

Time it Right

Water is your friend! Heavy dew can tamp pollen down while thunderstorms essentially wash the pollen out of the air. While dew is helpful, pollen counts are generally highest in the morning so plan accordingly!

Consider Intensity

The greater the exercise intensity, the greater chance you will have adverse impacts while exercising. By sticking to lower intensity activities (walking, tai chi, strength training) especially while outside you’ll likely be able to stay active even if pollen levels are high.

Wash Up

If you are outside for any length of time, change your clothes and rinse off. Pollen can stick to your skin, hair, and clothes even after you come back inside.


Talk to your doctor about allergy medication options, both prescription and over-the-counter. Taking medication before any outdoor physical activity can make a significant difference for many people. While it’s too late to do so this allergy season, some allergists recommend beginning medication before allergy season starts so it’s active in your system before the pollen flies. If you do start medication, it usually takes a week or two to take effect, so be patient!

WellBound provides a location that allows you to stay active during allergy season. At WellBound you can:

  • Train inside where the pollen count is negligible.

  • Enjoy a cool, humidity controlled location.

  • Exercise at any time regardless of pollen count.

  • Attend classes or personal train at lower intensities.

Here's to hoping the allergen counts drop soon!

~The WellBound Team

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