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The allergy season can be a tough time for many people. If this sounds familiar, then don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Almost half the population of America reports that they are impacted by seasonal allergies.

For the health-conscious, this can disrupt favorite routines for months. But, there's hope! This guide offers ways to exercise outdoors safely during allergy season, helping to keep a healthy mind and body.

Understanding Allergy Season

According to a survey on Statista, 49% of Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. While some of these may be mild, it still means that outdoor exercise can become a thing of misery for millions of Americans.

The allergy season is difficult to define, it depends on the particular allergen and geographical location, amongst other factors. Broadly, it’s during spring, summer, or fall, when airborne allergens are present in greater numbers.

However, an individual's susceptibility to particular allergens will play a large part in defining what constitutes their “personal” allergy season.

Common culprits include:  

  • Pollen from Trees: This is usually the first allergen to appear in the year, typically in the spring. Common trees that produce allergenic pollen include oak, pine, birch, cedar, and maple.
  • Grass Pollen: This allergen is most prevalent in late spring and early summer. Common grasses that produce allergenic pollen include Bermuda, Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, and fescue.
  • Weed Pollen: Weeds produce pollen in the late summer and fall. Common allergenic weeds include ragweed, sagebrush, lamb's quarters, and nettle.
  • Mold Spores: These can be present throughout the year but are most common in the warmer months. They thrive in damp environments, such as piles of wet leaves or grass.
  • Outdoor Fungi: These can also be present year-round but peak during the warmer months.

Understanding the specific allergens and their peak times can help individuals better prepare and protect themselves.

Tips for Exercising Outdoors During Allergy Season

The warmer months are perfect for outdoor activities – unless you suffer from seasonal allergies. In this case, these months can mean the misery of hay fever symptoms or worse.

However, all is not lost! Masks and sunglasses can help keep allergies at bay. But there are plenty of other hints and tips to help you make the most of the great outdoors, even in the allergy season.

Know Your Pollens

Being aware of pollen levels can make a significant difference in managing your outdoor activities:

  • Stay Updated: Use websites or apps that offer daily pollen forecasts. This helps you anticipate high pollen days and adjust your plans accordingly.
  • Peak Times Awareness: Pollen counts are usually highest during early mornings and late afternoons. If you can, try to schedule your outdoor activities during mid-day or after rain, when pollen levels tend to drop.
  • Different Pollens, Different Times: Remember, tree pollens might peak during spring, grass pollens in late spring to early summer, and weed pollens in late summer to fall. Being aware of which allergens affect you the most can help you better prepare for the season.

Some useful resources that can help you keep aware of pollen levels include the national allergy map at and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, &Immunology’s allergies map.  

Time Your Workouts

Choosing the right time for your outdoor activities can significantly reduce your exposure to allergens:

  • Morning vs. Evening: While the fresh air of early mornings can be invigorating, it's also when pollen counts are often at their peak. Consider shifting your routine to evenings during high pollen seasons, especially if you're sensitive to morning pollens.
  • Avoid Windy Days: Wind can stir up pollen and distribute it over larger areas. If the day is particularly breezy and you're sensitive to pollen, it might be best to take your workout indoors or consider a less windy location.

Just timing your workout differently can be the difference between day and night!

The Weather: One to Watch

The weather plays a large part in determining pollen levels. Here's how you can use it to your advantage:

  • Dry vs. Humid: Dry, warm, and windy days often have the highest pollen levels. On the other hand, humidity can fuel mold growth. It's a balance of understanding which allergens affect you more.
  • After the Storm: Thunderstorms can break pollen particles, making them easier to inhale.
  • Clear Skies Advantage: Clear days after rain are your best bet. Rain washes away pollen, giving you a window of cleaner air.

By keeping an eye on the weather and understanding its impact, you can make informed decisions about your outdoor activities.

Medicate and Premedicate

Managing allergies often requires a proactive approach, especially when you're keen on outdoor activities:

  • Start Early: Don't wait for symptoms to kick in. If you know your allergy season is approaching, start taking your medications a few weeks in advance.
  • Consult Your Doctor: Always discuss with your healthcare provider about the best medications for your specific allergies. They can guide you on both over-the-counter and prescription options.
  • Dietary Boost: Some foods have natural anti-allergic properties. Incorporate them into your diet for added protection. Various allergy-fighting snacks can complement your allergy medications.
  • Stay Consistent: Once you start your medication, ensure you take it consistently for the best results.

By pre-medicating and staying informed, you can enjoy the outdoors without the sneezes and sniffles.

Listen to Your Body

It's essential to tune into your body's signals. While medications and precautions help, if you feel unusually fatigued or experience heightened symptoms after outdoor activities, it might be a sign to adjust your routine.

Recognizing and respecting your body's limits ensures a healthier and more enjoyable outdoor experience.

Summer Breeze: Fighting Back Against Allergies

Outdoor activities are fantastic for health and wellness, including being a phenomenal stress remedy.

However, being deprived of our outdoor activities just as the weather is perfect is a cruel stroke of irony. But by taking a few precautions, keeping an eye on the weather and pollen forecasts, and applying a little common sense, it is possible to enjoy outdoor activities all year round.

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