Being active outdoors helps me cope with stress and supports my mental well-being. But seasonal allergies can make it tough to enjoy Mother Nature in all her glory.

As a teen and young adult, I never had to deal with allergies, but in my 30s, they started creeping up on me. Now allergies plague me year-round, and symptoms are particularly pesky during the spring and summer.

I love to spend time outdoors exploring nature and being physically active, but itchy eyes, a scratchy throat, and sneezing can make outdoor activities less pleasant and post-workout recovery a challenge.

Here’s how I stay active and enjoy my favorite outdoor activities while keeping allergy symptoms at bay.

The weather app on my phone is my trusty sidekick when it comes to avoiding allergens that cause my allergies to flare. In the spring and summer, I always check the pollen forecast before heading outdoors.

If the pollen count is unusually high, I might consider shortening my run or hike, or switching the location of the day’s excursion — like choosing a path with less vegetation that could irritate my sinuses, throat, and eyes.

When it’s hot out, I love a refreshing run in the pouring rain, when pollen levels are low. But pollen counts tend to rise after rainfall. Other weather conditions, like wind, can also kick up pollen levels in the air.

Did I plan for a jaunt through a forest trail? A high pollen count on a warm, windy day may mean I hit the treadmill indoors instead — whether for a walk or run.

Nature is a pollen-making machine that starts early in the day. In the spring and summer, levels rise and typically reach their highest midday.

Getting up early for hikes, bike rides, and runs means I’m more likely to avoid peak pollen times.

Plus, there’s the added advantage of cooler mornings — a boon during the ultra-humid summer months, when airborne allergens, including pollen, are more likely to linger in the air.

I’m not a “get up before dawn” kind of person anymore and still apply sunscreen whenever I’m out and about outdoors. But early wakeups also mean I can avoid times when UV rays are at their most powerful.

You can’t always spot visible pollen particles in the air until they settle on your skin and clothes, but they’re there, floating around, waiting to trigger sneeze attacks.

Sneezing, and itchy throat are common allergy symptoms for me. Wearing head and eye protection helps keep them to a minimum.

This protective gear also protects my scalp and eyes from damaging UV rays.

Another bonus? It’s an opportunity to don brightly colored, mismatched accessories and showcase my personality — hello, neon shades!

I know, it’s sometimes tempting to come in from outside and hop onto your work laptop to check your email or tend to some other task. Personally, I hate clutter, so if the dishes are dry when I come in, the pull to put them away is sometimes impossible to ignore.

But it’s important to change out of your sweaty clothes as soon as possible because it keeps pollen from spreading to spaces inside your home, like couches or carpets.

And even if I wear a hat and don’t get too sweaty, I take a shower or jump in the pool after exploring outside to wash pollen off my hair and exposed skin.

It used to be that I kept allergy medication on hand only for family members who are allergic to my dogs.

But since developing seasonal allergies in adulthood, allergy meds are an essential part of managing my symptoms while I continue to enjoy my favorite outdoor pursuits.

And pro tip: I like to have a few options on hand.

When I have to stay alert, I take nondrowsy allergy meds for allergy symptom relief. Allergy meds also minimize symptoms like nasal irritation that can make it tough to get quality shut-eye.

With these strategies, it’s still possible for me to get outside and enjoy my favorite outdoor fitness activities, including hiking, biking, walking, running, and swimming, all while managing my seasonal allergy symptoms.

Do I still have the occasional scratchy throat and itchy nose during the spring and summer? Sure. It’s impossible to avoid pollen exposure completely, especially when my favorite places to hike are full of diverse flora and fauna — aka pollen city.

But now I can manage my symptoms so I can get outside and feel good.

And when the air quality is really bad due to factors like high pollen counts and wildfire smoke, it’s OK to make adjustments, like working out indoors.

Skipping an outdoor activity or moving it to another day isn’t the end of the world. And I know my mucous membranes will thank me later.