alt=a man exercising by walking slowly to accommodate his allergies

Allergies and Exercise: How I Stay Fit

Last updated: January 2023

As someone living with a plethora of allergies, I have experienced a lifetime of ups and downs. Things are more complex than they appear regarding keeping fit and regularly exercising. People lucky enough not to have allergies may find it hard to understand that these conditions can severely hinder one's fitness levels.

To give the reader an example of what I mean, in 2017, I had a "bee in my bonnet" about getting fit. By this time, I had dramatically changed the way I ate. My diet was pretty clean, and I was feeling great.

Exercise when dealing with allergies and asthma

This is what led me to want to get physically fit. I knew I had to be careful because I have chronic asthma and didn't want to go in too hard or too early. So, I started with some gentle jogging around my neighborhood. I took practical advice from my doctor and made sure I took some medications before and after my fitness routine.

Adverse reactions after a jog

To my frustration, my body was starting to react badly to the activity. Please bear in mind that I ran only for about 10 minutes, tops! Embarrassing!

A couple of things started to happen in my body. Firstly, the heavy sweating was causing my skin to flare. My dermatitis got 10 times worse, and any scratching would rip my skin open because my skin was moist. I cannot explain how frustrating this was. On top of this, my asthma got instantly worse. Strangely, my asthma didn't get worse during exercising, but my chest was tight during the middle of the day and at night. I had to stop jogging.

Consulting my doctor after a decline in health

My thinking before starting this new fitness regimen was that I wanted to get past the pain barrier. I tried to get to a point where both of these conditions settled, but I could not get anywhere near this state.

That year I nearly ended up in the hospital because my health took a complete nosedive, and I could not get my breathing back to a manageable state. Luckily, my doctor helped me through this period, and I did get better, but I was not exercising.

Trying exercise again a few years later

In 2019 I joined my local gym. I was serious about improving my physical fitness routine and mental health and would wake up at 5 AM every other day and head to the gym. Again, my thinking was that if I was exercising in a more controlled environment, this might be more conducive to my health. I was wrong. All of the same symptoms reappeared even when working out in the gym.

Now, I exercise as if I am someone in my late 70s. I go walking, and I have an exercise bike in my bedroom that I use for about 10 minutes. Then I jump straight into the shower to wash up the build-up of sweat. Thankfully, my asthma is less affected.

Doing this more gentle exercise means my skin is not affected too much. There must be millions of people around the globe who have these conditions, such as allergies, but can exercise with no problems. How do you do it? Any tips or advice would be very welcome.

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