Health: Exercise may lessen hay fever symptoms

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With spring expecting to bring unusually strong hay fever symptoms Leeds-based Reebok Master Trainer, Stacey Jacques, shares her recommendations in time for Allergy Awareness Week.

Stacey says, “Those who don’t suffer from hay fever often underestimate the misery it causes. The constant sneezing, itching eyes, and soreness caused by pollen takes its toll on a daily basis and affects millions of people.”

A study conducted by Professor Jean Emberlin, director of Pollen UK, reveals that hay fever sufferers who incorporate five x 30-minute sessions of exercise each week were the most likely to report mild hay fever symptoms compared to those who did little or no exercise.

Symptoms are also twice as likely to be severe for those who are stressed. As stress levels decline, the researchers discovered the severity of symptoms fall.

The study also uncovered that hay fever sufferers who rated their diet as ‘healthy’ were less likely to suffer from “unbearable or debilitating” symptoms and were more likely to find their symptoms mild.

Top five tips to battle hay fever;

Work Up a Sweat: Aim to do two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as cycling, fast walking or running every week. The evening is best as the pollen count will be lower.

Get In Tune: Yoga, Tai Chi and meditation are well known for promoting calmness, increasing focus, and building inner strength. These stress reducing activities can also be done indoors to avoid a high pollen count

Oil Up: Ensure to eat foods rich in omega 3 and 6 essential fats. These can be found in oily fish, nuts, seeds, and their oils. It contains anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce symptoms of hay fever.

Lose the Liquor: With the weather warming up, outdoor parties and BBQs are becoming frequent.Beer, wine and spirits contain histamine which trigger allergic responses. Not only this, alcohol makes those more sensitive to pollen and is dehydrating - worsening the symptoms of hay fever. If alcohol is to be consumed, make sure it’s in the evening when the pollen count is lower.

Group Up: Working out with others offers camaraderie, higher production of endorphins and increased performance. Group exercise can help people meet their fitness goals, reduce stress and increase general wellbeing.

Stacey hosts free Cardio Ultra classes in Sporting Pro, Kirkstall Valley Retail Park, LS5 3RP every Saturday 10am-11am. Call in-store before the classes begin, or visit


Allergy Awareness week runs from April 20-26.

Most sufferers say their daily life is affected by the condition with 92 per cent concerned about eating out, while 82 per cent worry about going on holiday.

Hospital admissions in England for allergic reactions are soaring to more than 20,000 each year..

Research carried out by Allergy UK has found that 68 per cent of the UK population would not know how to help if they saw someone suffering from a reaction.