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Allergies and Exercise

Updated on August 29, 2013

Do you feel like you may be allergic to exercise?

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Could I be allergic to exercise?

It happens everytime. I finally get motivated and consistent with my workout routines. I am running, swimming, and attending the gym on a regular basis. My body is beginning to respond to the new schedule and the results I am working towards are becoming a real possibilty. Then, after 3-4 weeks, I get sick. My nose starts running, I get a hacking cough, and I am so fatigued after work I know exercise is not going to happen that day. After allowing 1 to 2 weeks for recovery depending on the severity of the sickness, I am back to square one and have to work even harder to regain my earlier progress.

I began to wonder if it was truly possible to be allergic to exercise and how I can avoid the ineveitable sicknesses that seem to haunt me. I started where most people go, Google, and searched for allergies to exercise. I was stunned tp find there is a real condition known as exercise induced anaphylaxis or EIA. Symptoms can include fainting, vomiting, hives, and other problems which is triggered by exercise. The onset of EIA is usually associated with eating certain foods before exercising but this condition is very rare only affecting around 1000 people since it was documented. This was obviously not my problem and through more research and some common sense thinking I came up with other reasons for my supposed allergy.


Allergies affect 1 in 5 Americans each year and contribute to a whole host of medical issues. I noticed after running outside during the day, I would soon develop a post nasal drip and slight cough. This would soon lead to the inevitable sinus infection and trip to the doctor's for an antibiotic. This will always keep me from working out and running again for up to 2 weeks at a time.

Since there are no cures for allergies I had to think of ways to help this problem because giving up running is not an option for me. Running in the early morning or evening can reduce exposure to outdoor allergens. Pollen counts are highest in the afternoons so I changed my running schedule accordingly.

There are many foods which can help alleviate allergy symptoms. These include yogurt, berries, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts, citrus fruits, ginger, and green tea. I began to add more of these foods to my diet and even began trying green tea brands until I found one whose taste I can tolerate.

Gym Germs

Using any equipment or touching any surface at a gym is just asking for some sort of random sickness. People are sweating and spreading their illnesses everywhere they touch. Obviously being a member of a gym offers many benefits that outweigh the chance of contracting a sickness and there are things you can do to protect yourself.

Always bring your own towel and wipe down the gym equipment before you use it. If the gym does not offer a sanitizing spray, feel free to bring your own wipes. You can also bring a spray bottle with a mix of 50% water and 50% white vinegar to sanitize the equipment before using it.

Healthy Eating

While I may be dedicated to working out, eating healthy continues to be a daily struggle for me. I love any kind of sweets including most desserts and candy. I find it hard to resist cookies and all the other tempations that constantly surround me each day. Bad foods can contribute to me not being able to fight off the germs and why I continue to get sick all the time.

There are many food which can help boost your immune system and feel better. The good news many of these foods can also alleviate the annoying allergy symptoms thus killing two birds with one stone. Immune boosting foods contain vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and zinc. They include bright foods like berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, apples and red grapes. The best vegetables are kale, onions, sweet potato, spinach, carrots, and spices like garlic.

Like most people finding the motivation to get up and get exercising is a daily struggle for me. Using the, "I am allergic to exercise" excuse just isn't possible anymore. If you are like me and can follow the tips listed above than exercise can truly make you healthier and feel better about your body without making you sick in the process.


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    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks CrisSp! I find it hard to motivate myself also. I always seem to get sick when I get into a good routine!

    • CrisSp profile image


      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Oh, I have some of these allergy reactions as well whenever I exercise. Lol! Kidding aside, I am not an GYM person and it's hard to get myself motivated in doing so but I try to exercise whenever I can. I also consider my work at the aircraft a good way to exercise specially going back and forth down the aisle and that"s why I always volunteer to push the duty free cart and sell. :)

      Great hub. Will absolutely share. Thanks.

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks for reading and commenting Vinaya!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      5 years ago from Nepal


      actually I'm not allergic to exercise, but I'm lazy when it comes to exercise. I know the importance of exercise, but I cannot jump start. I'm going to read you other motivational hubs on exercise.

      PS: Thanks for reading and commenting on my hub.

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks Denise for reading and sharing!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      Like Dianne, (Teaches), I always wash my hands after a work out and before I even leave the gym. Yes, lots of germs out there and everywhere. Don't let the cold get you down. Just take care of yourself and maybe fit in some stretching, i.e. yoga stretches you can do at home. That way your body is still getting something and you aren't pushing your energy to the top. Up/I/sharing

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks for reading midget!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      5 years ago from Singapore

      Ah, thanks for the warning, Jennifer! Will always wipe the equipment down before using. Thanks for sharing!

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks Deborah! I have also read several articles about the dangers of hard-core exercise and I find it very interesting!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      5 years ago from Iowa

      This is a great hub, Jen. I've heard that hard-core exercise, like training for a marathon, can actually make you sick because it can compromise your immune system. Fortunately for me, exercise makes me feel better and sleep better, too.

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks sunshine! I was fighting another sinus infection but luckily I caught it early and was able to keep working out through the crud.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Luckily I am not allergic to exercise. Then again I might be because I get the hack, running nose etc... but, I work out right through it and my crud lasts for a few months due to allergies. Luckily so far I've been lucky for 2013. I use a new nasal spray Astepro that works great and I don't want to jinx myself...Haha! I never work out at gyms, so many germs. I walk or work out at home. I've been in a push-up craze for the past few the challenge! I hope you feel better if you are sick again :(

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks teaches! Washing your hands was meant to be on there so I will need to go back and add it in.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      Great post, Jen. I like your tip to wipe down the equipment before and after. I use the gym regularly and it is tops on my must-do. Also, wash hands afterwards! Exercise is hard to adjust to at first, it does cause you to ache in places you didn't know would, and it chases out those toxins through coughs and drips.


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