Allergy-Proof Your Workout

There are already countless excuses for skipping your workout -- don’t let your allergies be one of them. If you’re one of the 40 million Americans who suffer from sniffles, sneezes, wheezes and watery eyes every spring or fall, you know that these symptoms can make exercising outside difficult. But with a few smart moves, you can breathe easy while staying fit.

1. Time it right.
Plants release their pollen early in the morning, right after dawn, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American. As the wind shifts, the count rises and reaches its peak around mid-day in cities and urban areas. To avoid an allergy attack, schedule workouts in the very early morning or later in the evening. Or head outdoors right after it rains, which temporarily washes away the pollen.

2. Check the pollen count.
If the pollen counts are particularly high, you may want to take your workout inside. Check the levels in your area on the National Allergy Bureau’s website. Hit the gym, set up your own mini boot camp or do a workout DVD.

3. Treat it early.
The best time to take your allergy medication isn't when you start to sneeze -- it's beforehand. Those meds are most effective when they're already in your system, say the experts. 

4. Shield your eyes.
To keep irritants from getting in your eyes during a workout, slip on a pair of wraparound shades before your walk, run or bike ride. Wearing a hat can also keep pollen from clinging onto your hair all day long, which can worsen your symptoms.

5. Shower off.
As soon as you get done with your workout, hop in the shower to rinse away that pollen and toss your clothes straight in the wash. To avoid tracking those allergens throughout your home, keep a clothing and sneaker bin in your home's mudroom or entryway.

6. Keep moving.
Don't be tempted to skip your sweat session on account of those sniffles: According to a study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Allergy and Immunology, exercising for half an hour can reduce your allergy symptoms by as much as 70 percent. The researchers explain that moderate physical activity may counteract nasal inflammation. That's motivation enough to lace up those sneakers!

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