Thursday, February 24, 2011

An Exercise Allergy Sweeping the Nation...Or Sloth -- We Get the Exclusive

Up too late and unable to sleep (Wishing I could because sleep is hugely important not only for fitness minded folks but EVERYONE! But, a topic for another post.) I had the tube tuned in to Lopez Tonight...yes, I'm a TBS fan, but don't get me started on how annoying it is that they keep messing with the schedule and they committed a cardinal sin of screwing with the Seinfeld slot! Sorry, rant averted and back on track...he made a crack about how now there are folks out their claiming to be allergic to exercise. His punchline was something along the lines of, "It's laziness and it's sweeping across America" or such...but it made me laugh and roll my eyes because as sad as it I KNOW there are people out there that have convinced themselves that they are allergic and use that as an excuse to avoid working out.

So, I hopped online and checked up on this supposed 'illness' to find out some symptoms and the low-down. Well, it turns out there are a few 'kinds' of exercise allergies and they actually have fancy-pancy names: Cholinergic urticaria (itching), Exercise-induced anaphylaxis, Itchy Pants Syndrome.

The first, is basically that when a person gets hot they may get some red spots that do in fact itch. The is usually worse in hot and humid environments and with the added activity the body heat rises and they may become irritated. Reason to avoid working out like the plague, I think not. Suggested remedies: workout in a place with a fan or cooler climates, hit the pool, put on some ointment, and the itching should go away after you cool down. A tip doctors recommend is that with a proper warm-up and cool-down, and working into your more intense routine should help you avoid the rash. Also, if this is your excuse you may also be allergic to saunas and hot be warned.

Now, the second, I will say sounds more legit and there are some doctors backing it up. However, the prime catalyst for the anaphylaxis is that the person eats a certain kind of food they are allergic to and then combination of getting overheated through exercise causes them to become faint, have trouble breathing, possible hives, and sometimes throwing up. Dr. Jacqueline Eghrari-Sabet from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology details, "These are people who will not have this reaction unless they exercise right after eating this food...Eating shellfish and sitting there? Nothing. But eating shellfish and exercising? For these people, it's bad news." Yet even the experts don't think that skipping exercise in general is the remedy, "If they come to me, I'm not going to tell them not to exercise," professes Dr. Bruce Robinson who is a Manhattan dermatologist. It all comes back to gradually working into your routine to avoid a high spike in body core temperature, making sure your environment is cooler, and also be mindful not to eat certain foods before working out.

Finally, Itchy Pants Syndrome?!?! If this is your excuse than you certainly take the cake. This sounds more like a skin allergy to certain fibers that gets worse if your body heats up. My advice: there are TONS of technical fiber based workout clothes out suit up. If you're running in jeans in the first place your own lack of judgment merits some chaffing. There is also a product called Body-Glide that actually really helps with chaffing.

So, in conclusion, is there an allergy sweeping the nation that keeps people from exercising? I'm not convinced...don't look for excuses to opt out of something that is good for your body and mind. Instead, channel that same energy into finding a workout you enjoy and will stick with!

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