Strained breathing or shortness of breath, medically referred to as dyspnea, is often the result of heavy exercise or congestion, and is not a cause for concern unless it persists. Harmless though it may be, what if you are experiencing congestion during your outdoor exercise routine? While it’s not usually advisable to work out while you’re sick, if you’re dealing with allergies, indoor or out, there’s no reason to let them stop you from killing your session.
The War Starts At Home
It goes without saying that more contact with an allergen means more allergic responses. Regardless of whether you’re dealing with allergies while you’re indoors, outdoors, or both, there are a few tricks of the trade you can adapt to decrease your respiratory contact, ease your discomfort, and maintain your workout intensity. Even if you don’t think you’re experiencing indoor allergies, start with the air inside your home; clean air ducts, furnaces, air conditioners, and other areas that are related to the air inside your home to reduce the build-up of allergens that could be contributing to your issues. HEPA vacuums can also be used for trapping dust and dirt that interfere with your air quality; removing them can reduce the strain on your immune system, thus improving its function.
Moving to the Battle Field
Removing allergens in the home is one thing; unfortunately, this can’t be done outdoors. That said, you can still limit how many outdoor allergens come into contact with your respiratory system. Start by monitoring the pollen count in your area; this way, you know if you should plan an indoor session, or pop an allergy pill. You can also plan your outdoor workouts during times of the day that have a lower pollen count. For urban areas, that’s before 10 am and after 3 pm. Further aid your efforts by applying a layer of petroleum jelly around your nostrils to help trap pollen and other allergens before they get into the body, and immediately shower and change your clothes (don’t forget to put the dirty ones in the wash) when you’re done. Pollen clings to everything, and you don’t want to inadvertently release it indoors.
Strengthening the Troops
Speaking of doing things inadvertently, you may be aggravating your allergy symptoms without knowing it. Give your body and immune system the best chance by removing some of these things from your lifestyle. Eliminate any alcohol from your diet, as it can affect your body’s histamine levels, which may reduce your natural ability to combat allergies; it can also contribute to existing congestion. There’s another culprit that aggravates congestion that may be in your diet as well: dairy. Dairy products cause mucus to become thicker and stickier, which can further impact your breathing. Lastly, stay on top of your hydration. Even the slightest bit of dehydration can impact the body’s immune system, as well as cause thick mucus that makes breathing uncomfortable.
Allergies in this form are benign, albeit uncomfortable. If all else fails, reach for an antihistamine and tap into the drive that got you working out in the first place; it will get you where you want to go.
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