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Six Expert Tips For Exercising Outside Amid Warnings Of A ‘Pollen Bomb’

Run fit runner woman jogging in green spring forest woods park

Ah, British summertime! The days are long, the sun is shining, and ‘exercising outside’ has doubled in popularity over the last three months, according to Google searches.

With everyone eager to take their workouts into the great outdoors, events like Parkrun are seeing record numbers, with some London routes drawing up to 800 enthusiasts each weekend.

pollen hay fever

But with the summer heat comes a rise in air pollution and allergy symptoms, thanks to all those pesky pollutants.

A looming heatwave is set to bring high pollen levels, creating a so-called ‘pollen bomb’. So, it’s vital to understand how to protect yourself from these airborne adversaries.

Fortunately for us Emily Lockwood, physiotherapist for UNTIL and director at Air Physiotherapy, shares her top tips on outdoor exercising, from using Vaseline to post-cool-down routines.

Check Air Quality Levels

Before you lace up those trainers, check the air quality forecasts. If you’re prone to allergies, it’s best to avoid outdoor exercise on days when pollution levels are high.

The Met Office website is a trusty ally here, letting you know when the pollen count is through the roof.

Timing is Key

Early mornings and late evenings are your best friends when it comes to outdoor exercise during the summer.

Pollution levels are typically lower during these times, helping to keep those allergy symptoms at bay.

Petroleum Jelly Keeps Pollen Away

That trusty tub of Vaseline in your bathroom cabinet isn’t just for chapped lips. Smearing a little around your nostrils can help trap pollen, reducing what you inhale and easing those hay fever woes.

Shield Your Eyes and Nose

Don your wraparound sunglasses or a wide-brimmed hat to protect your eyes and nose from pollen and pollutants.

If you’ve got a pair of onion goggles stashed away, now’s their time to shine. They’re not just for chopping veggies—they’re great for keeping your eyes safe from airborne irritants too.

Post-Exercise Routines to Reduce Allergy Symptoms

After your outdoor exploits, a nasal rinse can work wonders. This TikTok sensation, with over 316 million videos, involves flushing saline water through your nasal passages to clear out any lingering debris.

And don’t forget to shower and change your clothes as soon as you’re back indoors to ensure no pollen hitchhikers make it into your home.

Use Appropriate Medications

Don’t let a high pollen count derail your Saturday Parkrun. With the right medications—prescribed by your healthcare provider—you can manage asthma or hay fever symptoms effectively.

Just remember, prolonged exposure to pollutants isn’t great for your brain or cognitive function, so always take additional steps to minimize exposure.

Emily Lockwood, physiotherapist for UNTIL and director at Air Physiotherapy, has these top tips to share: “Along with the warm weather, the summer season can bring about a range of allergy symptoms, which can make being outside unbearable and make exercising outdoors feel like an impossible task.

Nobody wants to have to be trapped inside so following these hacks may make tackling pollen and pollution levels that little bit easier and allow you to take full advantage of the warmer weather.”

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