Turns Out, You CAN Actually Be Allergic To Exercise

Need a new workout excuse?

allergic to exercise
Image: Instagram @underarmourwomen

It’s an excuse we’ve all used to get out of a brutal workout at some point or another. But according to science, being allergic to exercise is actually a thing.


But before you go and curse your parents because you weren’t born with an exercise allergy, just know that it’s not a fun time. Popular Science reports that exercise-induced anaphylaxis, which affects approximately 50 in every 100,000 people, causes breathing difficulties, lightheartedness, hives, nausea and diarrhea. If you continue to exercise, it can lead to swelling of the face, lips, eyes and throat — ultimately leading to anaphylactic shock.

The verdict is still out on what exactly causes the condition. However, scientists believe it’s triggered by other factors in conjunction with exercise, like certain foods, alcohol, cold weather and menstruation. It can happen during almost any type of exercise, whether it’s a leisurely walk in the park or a hardcore HIIT session. The only workout nobody seems to be allergic to is swimming. According to a study published in Current Allergy and Asthma, people diagnosed with exercise-induced anaphylaxis didn’t present any symptoms after doing laps.

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If you have an exercise allergy, you’d probably already know about it. But if some of the symptoms sound all too familiar, you might want to read up on the signs you’re pushing yourself too hard during your workouts.

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Emma Norris
A true believer in balance, Emma is just as passionate about pizza as she is about pull-ups. When she’s not writing, she loves strength training, visiting new cafes and trying out new fitness classes. Having lived in Ireland and Canada, Emma was bitten by the travel bug at a young age. She loves nothing more than visiting new destinations and experiencing different cultures. Emma grew up (and currently lives) near the beautiful Coogee Beach and is happiest when she’s near a body of water. She started her career in magazines and has recently made the exciting transition to the digital world.