Tuesday, April 23, 2013

do allergies cramp your workout style?

do allergies cramp your workout style?


palo verde tree in full bloom
one of many allergy trees outside my office.

The spring bloom is in full swing - lots of pretty colors everywhere I look. Unfortunately, that also means I'm spending way too much time sneezing and reaching for a kleenex. (on the bright side, that's lots of extra ab-work, right?)

The strange thing is, my allergies have actually gotten less severe over the years, compared with many of my friends who never had them as kids but now they get knocked out for a few weeks each year. Regardless, though, there are a few days each spring when my body simply does NOT want to do a workout.

Here are some of the tricks I've used to beat back the allergy excuse:

Workout in the morning. Sometimes the longer the day goes, the worse my allergies get, to the point that all I want to do at night is take a benadryl and go to bed! This is especially true after a few days of pushing hard without enough sleep - once my body gets run down, it's all over. If I wait for a nighttime workout, and then start to feel sneezy and cloudy during the day, I've just set myself up for failure.

Workout indoors. As much as I hate treadmills, sometimes getting away from the wind and the pollen is enough to allow me to get up to speed.

Slow Down. I know I'm not going to break a PR on a day that's windy, dusty, pollen-y, and sneezy. So what - I don't need to break a record just to have a good workout. On top of that, I don't want to push my lungs to the point where I'm wheezing and gasping for air - pollen-filled air.

Cool Shower. A cool shower goes a long way towards calming my body down once the allergy symptoms have kicked in. Taking a shower after the workout is obvious, but I've even taken a shower before my workout, just to clear my head.

Just Go! Getting started is usually the hardest part of the workout, and I find that once I get going and my adrenaline kicks in, I don't even need the snot rag in my pocket. Or, I may have to slow down and take a few breaks along the way, just to blow my nose. It's not the end of the world (and who am I trying to impress? My wife already loves me, and hopefully she's not watching!)

Take a day off. Can't win 'em all - sometimes I actually listen to what my body is telling me, and I take a break. Missing a few workouts isn't going to make a bit of difference in the long run. Just gotta be careful not to form any new lazy-bad habits.

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What tips and tricks have you used to stay in shape while fighting off allergy season?

-Chris Butterworth

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