Hay fever – don’t let it spoil your run!

High pollen season is approaching.  Lighter warmer days encourage us to get outside. But do you often find yourself sneezing, sniffling, eyes itching whilst out trying to enjoy the summer runs? You are not alone. The UK has one of the highest hay fever prevalence rates in the world. 25% of people suffer with hay fever, that’s about 10million people in England.

Hay fever can weaken nasal flow, impair breathing and restrict cardiovascular performance. Your body’s immune system has to work harder meaning that you feel tired and your concentration is limited.

Research has found that hay fever can be intensified by high pollution in towns and cities. So, try running away from busy main roads to avoid the raised air pollution and breath in the cleaner air. It has also been suggested, running along the coast and around hilly areas are the best places to train as they have lower pollen levels as well as lower pollution.

Pollen is released by plants in the early morning and late evening, so these are the worst times to go out. Unfortunately, these are the most convenient times before and after work. If possible, try to take your running gear to work with you and get out at lunchtime.

Top Tip: Wearing sunglasses while you run can reduce the amount of pollen getting in your eyes, plus it stops your pollen fingers itching your eyes.

Pollen is sticky, it will cling to your clothes, your hair and your pets. On high pollen days, avoid hanging out your running kit outside. Have regular showers to wash the pollen off you. If you have pets, brush and wash them on a regular basis to prevent spreading pollen around the home.

There are things you can eat to relieve and reduce the symptoms of hay fever. Eat sweet potatoes, plenty of fresh veg such as spinach to get your vitamin A intake which is crucial to maintain the mucous membrane in your nose.

Eggs, lean meat and nuts are great sources of vitamin B5 which can reduce allergic symptoms. Shellfish and all bran builds up your zinc levels which is especially important to maintain your immune system.

It is also believed that eating local honey is beneficial as it contains small amounts of local pollen which can relieve symptoms when they strike.

There is no known cure yet for hay fever, but it is certainly best to take steps to keep it at bay before the symptoms strike with full effect. Remember what works for one person may not work for another and it is always advisable to speak to your GP or pharmacist about possible treatments.

For more running, fitness and lifestyle help or guidance feel free to get in touch!

Alex Cann

AC Running and Fitness