Getting in shape can pay dividends throughout your life. For people with asthma and allergies, asthma triggers can make the path to a healthy lifestyle more challenging (but just as rewarding). Common asthma triggers such as allergens and smoking are everywhere. Pollutants — both outside and inside the home — can be a problem for people with asthma. Asthma sufferers can take steps to limit their exposure at home, such as reducing dust and humidity, but it’s a different story when they go to the gym.
Take Precautions at the Gym
While gyms offer members the proper tools to get fit, they can also be filled with asthma triggers. Consider the following tips provided by the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology to make your next trip to the gym a healthy and productive one:
Bring your own gear. If you have a latex allergy, you may want to bring your own supplies (such as a yoga mat). If you are allergic to fragrant laundry detergents, you should bring your own towel for post-workout showers.
Consider pool alternatives. Pools treated with chlorine can cause breathing problems and eye irritation. You may want to consider swimming in fresh or salt water, or skipping the pool altogether. Indoor cycling classes are easy on the joints and provide a good alternative cardio workout to swimming.
Identify allergens in your food. If you have a food allergy, make sure to check the ingredients on energy bars, smoothies and protein shakes. Common allergens can be found in many gym snacks.
Monitor your breathing. If you have trouble breathing during exercise, make sure to use your inhaler, warm up before exercising, and stop to catch your breath when needed. Don’t forget to perform a cool-down exercise when you’re finished!
Prepare for disinfectant disruptions. Chemicals in some disinfectants used in gyms can trigger allergies. You may consider taking your medicine before hitting the gym.
Wear the right fabrics. If you are allergic to synthetic materials, consider wearing workout clothes made of cotton.
See an allergist. An allergist can help you identify your allergies and asthmatic triggers, and help you avoid them in the future.
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