Saturday, June 4, 2011

Keeping Fit, Even With Seasonal Allergies

At last, sum­mer is here and it makes you want to get out­doors and go for a run. But for fit­ness seek­ers who suf­fer from sea­sonal aller­gies, the balmy sum­mer days can mean a blast of sea­sonal allergies.

sneeze Keeping Fit, Even With Seasonal Allergies Allergy symp­toms are trig­gered by our own immune system’s effort to expel a for­eign sub­stance, such as pollen, dust or ani­mal dan­der. When an aller­gen finds its way in to the body, spe­cial cells, called mast cells release his­t­a­mine and other chem­i­cals, which ini­ti­ate reac­tions designed to dis­lodge the anti­gen, includ­ing sneez­ing, and water­ing of the eyes and nose. The symp­toms of aller­gies, runny nose, itchy eyes, sneez­ing and snif­fling,
can make any allergy suf­ferer mis­er­able. For me, the lead­ing OTC non-drowsy allergy rem­edy, Clar­itin (lora­ti­dine), wasn’t non-drowsy. It was sleep-inducing. And Zyrtec (cet­i­rizine) and Benadryl (diphen­hy­dramine) were even worse for me, caus­ing a brain-fog that made it dif­fi­cult to func­tion dur­ing the day. So began my quest for alter­na­tive reme­dies for sea­sonal aller­gies. Here are some all-natural allergy strate­gies that can help keep your fit­ness pro­gram on track.

Tim­ing Your Workout

Get famil­iar with the local daily pollen counts and make a note of the days when you expe­ri­ence allergy symp­toms. Then armed with that knowl­edge, along with the daily pollen counts, you can plan out­door activ­i­ties when and where you are least likely to expe­ri­ence allergy prob­lems. Con­sider indoor fit­ness activ­i­ties (swim­ming, Tai Chi or weight train­ing) when pollen counts are at the high­est. You’re more prone to allergy woes if you’re stressed or jet lagged, because a weak­ened immune sys­tem is more sen­si­tive to aller­gens. Accord­ing to the Amer­i­can Acad­emy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunol­ogy, pollen counts are high­est from before sun­rise and until late morn­ing. Adjust the tim­ing of your out­door exer­cise rou­tine and try to avoid stren­u­ous activ­ity between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. Wrap around sun­glasses can help shield your eyes from aller­gens. Sum­mer rain­storms can lower the lev­els of pollen in the air. Cooler, wet­ter weather low­ers pollen counts, too.

Breathe In Through the Nose

Breathe in through the nose as much as pos­si­ble. Your nasal pas­sages fil­ter, moisten and warm the air you breathe. Of course there can be times where your instinct will be to inhale through your nose and mouth, but it’s still a good prac­tice to favor your nose when you inhale. You don’t need to entirely avoid breath­ing through your mouth. Nose inhala­tion tends to pro­mote healthy breath­ing Keeping Fit, Even With Seasonal Allergies and slower and deeper breaths.

Min­i­mize Post-exercise Allergies

After get­ting home from out­door exer­cise, take a shower, wash your hair and change clothes. You’ll be wash­ing away the aller­gens that have clung to your cloth­ing or hair dur­ing out­door exer­cise. Shut­ting win­dows, run­ning the air con­di­tion­ing and using a Neti pot Keeping Fit, Even With Seasonal Allergies to flush the nose with saline solu­tion, can clear the nasal pas­sages of any remain­ing allergens.


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