Living with allergies or asthma can make your life difficult at times, and one of the times when it seems most difficult is when you're trying to get in shape. It's tough to exercise outdoors if the pollen count is giving you a runny nose or making you wheeze, and it's tough to exercise anywhere if physical activity triggers an asthma attack. However, you really shouldn't allow allergies and asthma to stop you from living your life, and that includes getting in shape. Take a look at some tips that will help you stay physically fit without triggering an allergy or asthma attack.
Know When There Are More Allergens in The Air
If a treadmill doesn't do it for you and you want to participate in an outdoor exercise like running or jogging, your best bet is to time the exercise appropriately. Pollen counts tend to rise and fall with the temperature, and people with severe outdoor allergies are often advised to stay indoors between the hours of 10am and 3pm. Time your run for early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the temperatures are a bit lower and the pollen counts aren't as high.
Also, check the weather reports – if you see rain in the forecast, see if you can squeeze in a run as soon as the storm is over. After a storm is a great time to run if you have pollen allergies, because the rain washes away the pollen temporarily. Nighttime runs can also be a good option, unless you're allergic to mold. Mold spores are more likely to be present in the air at night, so if you do have a mold allergy, plan on being inside once the sun goes down.
Make Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs A Priority
One of the most difficult things to deal with when you're trying to get in shape is asthma, especially if you suffer from exercise-induced asthma (EIA). However, EIA doesn't meant that you can never exercise at all. Many athletes suffer from asthma, including Olympic medalist and track star Jackie Joyner-Kersee. The first thing that you have to do is make sure that your asthma is controlled – you should be taking any medications as prescribed by your asthma specialist, and you should have your doctor's OK to participate in strenuous exercise.
If your asthma is well-controlled and you have your doctor's blessing, the next thing you need to do is make sure that you make warm-ups and cool-downs part of your exercise routine. These are important for any athlete, but they're particularly important for your health if you suffer from asthma. A sudden change of temperature in your airway could trigger an asthma attack, and starting slowly and cooling down gradually helps prevent that sudden change.
Speaking of temperature changes, if you're working outdoors during the winter months, make sure that you bundle up and use a scarf to cover your mouth and nose. This prevents you from inhaling a sudden burst of cold air.
Unless you have an allergy to chlorine, swimming could be the answer to your exercise woes if you suffer from allergies or asthma. The water prevents you from overheating, and most possible allergens are not going to be found in or very near a pool. Also, if you know how to swim, you're probably already used to controlling your breath as you're swimming, so you're not likely to be gasping for air and possibly trigger an attack.
Plus, if you're out of shape, swimming might be the gentlest way to get back into the habit of working out. Swimming is a good aerobic workout, but moving through the water is a great resistance activity that you can do even if you've never lifted weights before. It's a good way to build and tone muscle without feeling overexerted.
Make sure that you run any new exercise routines by your doctor or allergy specialist before beginning them, and always be certain to have emergency allergy medication or an emergency asthma inhaler on hand just in case you need them.