Surviving Spring: Tips for Outdoor Exercisers with Seasonal Allergies

The best ways to reduce, relieve and avoid pesky seasonal allergy symptoms

We don’t have to tell you how frustrating and intolerable it is to suffer from seasonal allergies.

Because you’re here, we trust you already know.

Of course, you likely also know that allergies are the absolute worst during the spring, when you’ve been looking forward to taking your workouts outside after months and months of dealing with cold, messy, and inconvenient winter weather.

All you want to do is enjoy a nice relaxing run, but your itchy eyes, runny nose, and a constant cough refuse to allow it.  

Luckily, there are things you can do to reduce your suffering.

Experts recommend that you work with an allergist in order to find out what allergens irritate you most, the best method of treatment, and whether or not your allergies are exercise-induced rather than a result of pollen or mold in the air.

But in addition to consulting your doctor, the following tips can help you manage your seasonal allergies so that you can actually enjoy your outdoor workouts. 

Choose the right meds.

Yes, medicine is an obvious allergy solution, but especially for those who plan on exercising outside, it’s important to choose the right kind. Dr. Stephen Klemawesch, owner of Allergy-Associates in Petersburg, Fla. told Runner’s World that pretreating allergies by taking meds before a run is a smart relief strategy, but that you should avoid “first-generation” anti-histamines like Benadryl because they cause drowsiness and may “dry you out.” He suggested using brands like Claritin, Allegra, and Zyrtec and also recommended nasal-sprays like Nasalcrom and even prescription topical nasal antihistamines like Astepro and Patanase. Additionally, WebMd suggests that you consult a doctor about how to use your allergy medicines most effectively, since some take longer than others to start working. 

Eat to reduce inflammation.

According to WebMD, some research suggests that certain foods may help relieve allergy symptoms for some people by helping to minimize inflammation in the body. Nutritional experts Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD and David Leopold, MD suggested eating foods like salmon because its high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce inflammation and improve lung function; soups with clear broth, which may help to thin mucus and clear nasal passages; and fresh produce, like berries, potatoes, and kale, which offer a wide variety of antioxidants that may also help to reduce inflammation.

Click here to see more seasonal allergy tips for outdoor exercisers.

Editor's Note: This story was first published on Mar 11, 2015.