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Why Do I Get A Runny Nose When I Workout?

February 09, 2014 2 min read

If you're like many people, your nose runs like a sieve when you workout. Whether it be a good cardio workout, or an awesome HIIT workout, you always have to keep some tissue handy to blow your nose. You don't have allergies, and you're not sick, so why does your nose run when you workout? Keep reading to find out.

A runny nose brought on by a workout is called "exercise-induced rhinitis." Basically, your workout is bringing on an allergic reaction in your body. Some people simply suffer from a runny nose while others suffer from congestion, sneezing, headaches, itchy eyes, or even hives.

What causes your runny nose?

The specific cause isn't quite known though some believe that pollution, both indoor and outdoor, is a factor. Other's believe that cold weather in combination with exercise is what causes the reaction. It could also be that the action of breathing in and out heavily from exercise exertion causes extra dryness which your body then compensates for by creating mucous. Whatever the reason, there are a couple of ways to deal with the problem (besides giving up exercise, because no one wants to do that!).

How to deal with your runny nose

1. See your doctor

One solution is to see your doctor for a nasal spray to help alleviate your runny nose symptoms. The problem with this solution is that the sprays are usually steroid based and come with their own problems. Additionally, once you start using a nasal spray, it's hard to come off them without then having to deal with a stuffy nose for a week or so... I've been there, and it's no fun.

2. OTC allergy medications

You could also try taking an over the counter anti-histamine about an hour before you workout. Of course then you're stuck taking a pill 3-6 times a week and some people may find that it makes them drowsy which would affect your workout.

3. Cold weather mask

If cold weather is the culprit, you can try wearing a cover over your nose and mouth to help warm the air and retain moisture before the cold air reaches your nose. There's not really a down side to this solution other than some people may feel uncomfortable working out with fabric over their nose and mouth.

4. Carry tissue

Finally, my favorite, is keeping a stash of tissues handy to just simply blow your nose when needed. The down side to this method is then you have a used tissue you need to dispose of... pocket? waistband? hold on to it until you're done? I'm not a big fan of taking pills or using nasal sprays if I don't have to. I'm willing to put up with a bit of a runny nose and some tissue. If your nose is more than just a bit runny and it's affecting your workout, you may want to try the allergy pills or nasal spray.

Do you get a runny nose when you workout? What's your solution?

:) Pamela  


  • http://www.fitsugar.com/Exercise-Induced-Rhinitis-Makes-Your-Nose-Run-When-Exercising-3161441
  • http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/bodywork/fitness-coach/Why-Does-My-Nose-Run-When-I-Bike.html
Photo by: William Brawley licensed under CC BY 2.0

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