Made a New Year's resolution to work out more and eat better? Here's some pitfalls to avoid.
So you have made a resolution to exercise more and eat better. That's great! But some disclaimer: If you have asthma or allergies, going about it the wrong way can actually hurt your health. To help you succeed with your New Year's resolution, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) has identified the five most common asthma and allergy triggers when it comes to working out and embarking on a new diet, with tips on how to overcome them.
1. DON'T over-step your boundaries
If you're experiencing shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and unusual fatigue you might have exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), which affects about 10 percent of the population. Find relief by using your allergist prescribed inhaler before you begin your workout routine. Breathing through your nose, rather than your mouth, can also help.
2. DO read before you eat
Whether you've signed up for a dieting meal plan or are opting for foods with less calories, be sure to always read nutrition labels before you consume new items. Many products contain hidden food allergens, such as milk, wheat and egg. Energy bars can also be loaded with allergens, including soy and nuts, that affect certain people.
3. DO choose equipment wisely
While most exercise machines won't cause you to sneeze or wheeze, rubber mats, medicine balls and some rubber coated free weights might. Latex can often be found in these items, causing those with latex allergies to develop a rash or hives. Also beware of disinfectant wipes and sprays used to clean gym equipment. They can contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can spur an asthma attack or cause skin irritation.
4. DO explore indoors
If you're allergic to pollen, grass and other environmental factors, hit the ground running indoors. Not a fan of treadmills and indoor tracks? Take your allergy medication and avoid running outdoors during mid-day and afternoon hours when pollen counts may be highest. Be sure to change your clothes and shower immediately after finishing your workout to remove any particles that might have fallen onto your clothes and hair.
5. DON'T sacrifice comfort for fashion
If your workout leaves you itchy and you've ruled out other gym culprits, your clothing might be the setback. Synthetic materials used in everything from shirts to socks could be irritating your skin. ACAAI recommends checking clothing labels and opting for Lycra (spandex) which is higher quality and less likely to irritate your skin. Garments made of natural products can also help. If you have a latex allergy, be wary of athletic shoes and elastic waistbands.