Find out what an ear, nose and throat physician says about sniffling and sneezing after exercise.

Do you find you must sneeze and/or have the sniffles following exercise? Even indoors?

This may occur soon after you completed your training on a stationary bike, elliptical machine, revolving staircase or treadmill.

Or, the sniffling and/or sneezing may begin starting up right after your group fitness class, martial arts class or staircase workout.

And you know it can’t be allergies if this happens indoors.

“Vasomotor rhinitis is the medical term for a runny nose,” begins Dr. Stacey Silvers, MD, of Madison ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery in NYC, who is board certified in otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat).

“Triggers in younger people can be eating spicy food, walking in cold weather and exercise. Runny nose causes sniffling and can be more constant with age.”

Allergic rhinitis is another term; does your sneezing or sniffling occur after only outdoor exercise?

Pollens in the air or even environmental pollutants can be causes.

Do the annoying symptoms occur most after you’ve hiked among wildflowers?

“An anticholinergic medication like Ipatropium bromide can dry up a runny nose and be used on an as-needed basis,” says Dr. Silvers.  “This is a prescription from your physician.”

What about a runny nose during aerobic activity?

In my case, it kept happening when I was inline skating. The solution is to treat the symptom.

Every so often on the trail there was a trash can off to the side.

I’d have tissue paper in my fanny pack, and when it was time to give my nose a good blow, I simply cruised over to a trash can, blew, then deposited the used tissue paper into the can.

Then I’d take off for another round of inline skating.

It’s possible that pollen contributed to the runny nose., especially since once I stopped this fun form of aerobic exercise, the runny nose ceased.

An NYC expert in ear, nose and throat care, Dr. Silvers has been named among America’s Top Physicians and Surgeons in facial plastic surgery and otolaryngology numerous times since 2003.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. 



Top image: Shutterstock/Vladimir Gjorgiev