Depending on where you live and what type of pollens you’re allergic to, allergy season has been in full swing for a few months now. If you’re one of the 50 million Americans who suffer from nasal allergies, this is a rough time of year for feeling your best and getting in quality workouts. Despite the inevitable seasonal battle with allergies, here are some coping methods you can use to keep them from hindering your active lifestyle.

1.     Adjust where and when you exercise

Simply moving outdoor workouts to the fitness center during your peak allergy season can help you stay on top of your goals to get fit this spring and summer. Check the forecast:  dry, sunny, breezy conditions encourage allergens, while cool, rainy weather keeps the air cleaner. Also, check the pollen count: days with low pollen counts may be better ones to take your workout outside to enjoy the sunshine.

2.     Be smart about your allergy medication.

Medication can be a tremendous help for seasonal allergies, especially when it comes to exercise. Be sure to take your medication at least one hour before your planned workout to maximize your ability to breathe and reach your target heart rate. Secondly, consider using nasal sprays the days you hit the fitness gym, since they work immediately.  Just be sure to check the active ingredients to make sure it’s safe to take them with your regular allergy medication.

If you’re someone who gets regular allergy shots, avoid strenuous workouts for a few hours after. Exercise increases blood flow, so you’ll absorb more of the shot and could suffer more of the side effects.

3.     Give yourself more time to warm up and go easy if you’re not feeling it. 

If you have difficulty breathing when you’re affected by allergies, give yourself time to warm up so your passageways can clear and your lungs can deliver plenty of oxygen to your muscles. Five to ten minutes before you start your main workout should be sufficient.

Keep in mind that you’ll feel great some days and not-so-great others. Don’t let this discourage you from working out, but do listen to your body and take it easier on days your body is focused on fighting off invisible invaders.

4.     Focus on taking good care of yourself.

Sleep deprivation, sickness, and stress all increase your vulnerability to the effects of allergies. During allergy season, make sure to get extra sleep, keep up on your nutrition and active lifestyle to boost your immunity, and keep things low-key.

Seasonal allergies are something many of us deal with every spring and fall, but they don’t have to get you down. Be smart about where, when, and how you work out, take medication wisely, take care of yourself, and you’ll make it through a little more active and a lot less beaten down.