Any hayfever sufferer will know how miserable it can be to try heading outside in the summer only to be brought down by coughing, sneezing, and itchy eyes. We give you our top tips so that you can enjoy the benefits of exercising outdoors even when the pollen count is high.
Related: Best Relief For Hayfever Symptoms
1. Have a shower and get changed as soon as you finish your workout
Pollen and other allergens which may set off your hayfever can stick to skin and clothes. By showering and washing your clothes as soon as you finish your workout, you reduce the risk of these allergens prompting your symptoms. This does mean no more coffee with friends after a class, but you'll thank us!
2. Don't dry your workout clothes outside
As mentioned above, pollen and hayfever-inducing allergens can stick to clothes, so if you leave your fitness clothing outside to dry it will likely pick up these allergens and cause your hayfever to flare up. At Sundried, we always try to promote the idea of 'wash cool, sun dry' to protect your activewear as well as the environment, but in the summer, an airing cupboard or hanger may be better.
3. Exercise late morning or late evening
Pollen counts tend to highest in the early morning and early evening, so try to avoid exercising outside at these times as much as possible. If you really want to train outdoors during the summer, exercising late in the evening is usually better anyway as it is not so hot!
4. Wear wrap-around sunglasses
It can be very uncomfortable having itchy, watering eyes caused by hayfever and other seasonal allergies. By wearing wrap-around sunglasses, you can help to prevent as much pollen getting into your eyes and this should help to reduce the symptoms.
5. Exercise on the beach or in a paved area
As is expected, a grassy area like a park will be the worst for causing your symptoms to flare up. Especially if the grass has just been cut, you want to avoid doing your HIIT workout or sprint intervals here. Try doing a beach workout instead, especially as this comes with its own benefits, or find a paved area that is suitable.
Is your HIIT training better done inside or outside? Our Gym vs Outside series weighs up how we exercise indoors and outdoors.
Hills, stairs, roads, the park or simply up and down your street, sprints can be done anywhere and everywhere and are one of the best ways of cranking up your heart rate.
A simple and easy way to take your HIIT outside is by doing sprints. Doing sprint intervals on a treadmill can be great, but it can also be dangerous. Running on a treadmill always comes with a caution as you could slip or miss your footing and end up flying off the end of the conveyor as it carries on spinning. By taking your sprints outside you are making your training safer and you also benefit from the fresh air and freedom of the open road.
Related: Benefits Of Outdoor Training
Outdoor Training: 100m Sprints
The simplest way to measure out roughly 100m without a tape measure is to walk 130 steps. Mark your start and finish with something you have on you, such as a jacket and a water bottle.
Aim to complete 10 rounds. Exploding off from your start point and running as fast as you can.
Rest 30 - 90 seconds or until your heart rate recovers to around 130 bpm.
Take advantage of your surroundings; if you have stairs or a hill, crank up the intensity and push yourself all the way to the top. Sprinting outside on uneven ground is far more challenging than the flat of a treadmill.
Training outdoors has a host of benefits, but it can be hard to get motivated to train outdoors, especially in winter. So why should we do it?
What are the benefits of training outdoors?
Outdoor training increases endorphins
Did you know that the word 'endorphin' is actually a made-up word combining the terms 'endogenous' and 'morphine'? If something is endogenous, that simply means it was made within the body. So, endorphins are basically a type of morphine made by our body. That explains why they make us feel so good!
Endorphins are natural pain-relievers and make us feel happy, just like morphine. Training outdoors has been associated with higher levels of these 'feel good' chemicals being produced in the body. According to a study published in The Environmental Science & Technology Journal, just 5 minutes spent exercising outside in an open green space is enough to significantly lift your mood.
You burn more calories training outside
When you train in a gym or run on a treadmill, your body doesn't have to combat the elements. The surfaces are smooth and man-made and you don't need to work as hard to battle them. When training outside, you have the added elements of wind-resistance and heat from the sun, as well as uneven terrain to keep you on your toes. Research says you can burn up to 10% more calories than your regular gym session.
High oxygen levels improve almost every chemical reaction within your body. Research shows that spending time in fresh air, surrounded by nature, increases energy in 90 percent of people. “Nature is fuel for the soul, “ says Richard Ryan, Researcher and Professor of at the University of Rochester. “Often when we feel depleted, we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energised is to connect with nature.”
Outdoor training can improve bone density
The best source of Vitamin D is sunlight. In fact, there is a type of vitamin D that we can only get through sunlight and cannot be produced by the body or absorbed through food. Vitamin D is essential for our bodies to absorb calcium and it also improves your mood. Lack of vitamin D is one reason so many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder in the winter.
According to the National Osteoporosis Society recommendations, we should try to get at least 10 minutes of sun exposure to bare skin once or twice a day. Even if it’s cloudy, your body can still get vitamin D from sunlight; it just takes a little longer.
Exercising outdoors saves money
By training outdoors you are enabling yourself to train for free. You don't need expensive equipment in order to do a good workout, in fact, you don't need any equipment at all! Simply use park benches, trees, and other natural things in order to complete your workout. Just make sure you have the right fitness clothing so that you're comfortable and protected against the elements.
With mince pies and festive feasts coming up, a lot of us will be considering our exercise regime and how to stay fit over the winter. You may be a seasoned runner or just thinking about taking it up to help keep that Christmas excess in check. The problem with this time of year is the weather: do you run inside or out, or a mixture of both?
What are the differences?
Gyms tend to be very accessible and plentiful. They usually always have a good stock of treadmills waiting to be used. The downside is that you will need to pay a monthly (or per use) fee. When at the gym, there will be like-minded people seeking to improve their fitness which means you can stay motivated. You will also benefit from the warmth and safety of being inside, as well as the fact everything you need is in one place. You could even watch a TV while you run, although this isn't always conducive to a good workout.
The outdoors are always there, it will never be too busy and it is free. All you need is a little motivation and a 30-minute run. It is incredibly accessible. The downside here is, of course, the weather and the surfaces. You may have to work harder and be careful. It is more motivating to run outdoors as the scenery keeps things interesting and it is more refreshing than staring at a blank wall for 30 minutes!
Which is better?
Treadmills are great for setting and maintaining a pace. You can use them in any weather and they are brilliant for endurance training. You can develop and maintain a good stride and have a tailor made run. The downside is boredom and it may well put you off going back. On the other hand, when running outside there is a lot to see and once you get so far into your run, you still have to run back, so motivation is a huge factor. It is free and you can do it with other things, such as running errands, running with friends and so on. The downside is the weather. It can be cold and damp. There are also hazards like cars and people getting in the way that you need to consider.
In the end, it is up to you and your preferences. Running is a great exercise and done correctly, it will improve your fitness. If you cant decide, then you can use both methods and use the gym and the outdoors. If you like to tune out to music and just run thought free, the gym could be for you. Or if you need changing scenery, consider outdoor running, just get the right kit.
Training with gym rings has numerous benefits. It builds upper body strength, improves balance and agility, and works the core effectively. Try Sundried's gym rings workout to see for yourself how well it works!
Gymnastics Rings Circuit Workout
Training with gym machines all the time can be so boring. Mix up your training with our gym straps. With exercises like ring pulls ups and rows, there's a range of movements which will work the whole body.
Let's go for 3 rounds as a starting point. The key thing to remember is that you can make any movements easier or harder depending on the positions of your feet (the more you put them under the anchor point, the harder it will become).
- 10 Rows
- 10 Push ups
- 10 Bicep curls
- 10 Dips
- 10 One arm rows (5 on each side)
- 10 One arm push ups (5 on each side)
- L-Sit Hold (to failure)
Have a 20-30 second break in between each exercise. As always, form is key.
Good luck and have fun, this is what matters!