Why Does My Nose Run When I Exercise

“Why does my nose run when I exercise” was the first question on my mind every morning.

And like you, I went in search of answers, asking essential questions and reading every health book I could get my hand on.

why does my nose run when i exercise
why does my nose run when I exercise

I was scared that I wasn’t normal and might be suffering from a deadly condition, and I didn’t want to confirm my suspicion from the doctor, so I preferred to have my research done personally.

Guess what? I found answers to my “why does my nose run when I exercise” question.

We have provided the most concrete answer to your “why does my nose run when I exercise” question in this article.

The answers you will find in the proceeding paragraphs will wow and educate you. So keep reading to get all of it.


Why Does My Nose Run When I Exercise (Possible Causes)

The nasal cavity is sensitive and will run in for different reasons. We usually have a runny nose when we cry, slice onions, or get exposed to smoke.

In the case of an exercise-induced runny nose, there are various reasons why your nose will run during and after an exercise.

Some of the reasons you have a runny nose when you exercise include:

  • You might have exercise-induced anaphylaxis
  • You are reacting to a substance in the environment
  • You are having constricted nasal blood vessels
  • You are breathing in dirty air
  • You are exercising in cold, dry air
  • You are experiencing Rhinitis

These are the possible reasons you have a running nose during a workout session.

However, you need to know how each of these possible causes of a running nose during exercise brings about a running nose.

Still asking, “Why does my nose run when I exercise”. Keep reading for all the clarity you will ever need.

why does my nose run when i exercise
why does my nose run when I exercise

You Might Have Excercise Induced Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a medical condition that causes the body’s immune system to release several chemicals that cause panic-dropping pressure and narrowed airways that block breathing. 

Signs and symptoms of Anaphylaxis include; rapid, weak heartbeat; skin rash; and nausea and vomiting.

The Common causes of anaphylaxis include certain foods, medications, pesticides, and latex.

According to Dr. Mehdizadeh, exercise-induced Anaphylaxis has symptoms that make people develop an allergic reaction after physical activity.

The body releases most chemicals, and the histamine overload causes inflammation and discharges from the nose. 

The disease can also cause constipation, nausea, and dizziness. Anaphylaxis requires an epinephrine injection and a follow-up visit to the emergency room.

If you do not have epinephrine, you must immediately go to the emergency room. This is because, If Anaphylaxis is not treated immediately, it can be fatal.

Talk to a certified respiratory specialist immediately if you experience a severe nasal reaction after exercise or other symptoms of allergies, nausea, or fainting.

You may need to take epinephrine to stay safe.

You are Reacting to a Substance in the Environment

Do you get a smell when you work somewhere, like in a garage or basement?

If so, your “Why does my nose run when I exercise” case may be due to a cleaning solution, pleasant aroma, or inhaled household particles.

These chemicals stimulate the glands in your nose to produce more mucus at the slightest exertion.

Swimmers are more likely to develop a running nose during exercise if they swim in chlorine-bathed water.

Excessive exposure to chlorine-based products increases the penetration of the epithelial membrane into your respiratory tract.

The epithelial membrane is a barrier that protects you from allergies and other particles. 

To find out the cause of the problem, we suggest keeping a diary where you take note of symptoms.

If you find that you have a runny nose only during exercise, say, at your yoga studio, do not ignore it.

You need to fix an appointment with a doctor and get tested by an allergist to confirm your condition because, If left untreated, exposure to irritating substances can lead to uncontrolled inflammation of the airways, which can cause illnesses like Asthma.

why does my nose run when I exercise

You are Having Constricted Nasal Blood Vessels

Deep breathing during exercise can affect the nasal cavity after exercise, regardless of the type of air.

“To help to breathe during exercise, the blood vessels in your nose are narrowed, leading to a reduction in airway resistance,” says Ekta Perera.

The fact is that when your body narrows the blood vessels, extra space is created in the nasal passages. This is known as nasal vasoconstriction. However, nasal vasoconstriction comes with unpleasant side effects. 

Some side effects include inflammation, stuffy nose, or runny nose during and after exercise.

In fact, for some people, nasal waters open to the right only when they have completed their exercise. That’s because, after a workout, blood vessels stretch back to their pre-exercise size to rejuvenate some repetitive effect, which causes excess blood flow in the nose.

Excess blood flow can cause inflammation and swelling.

Unfortunately, you can’t stop your nasal arteries from constricting and opening up through exercise.

 But if you pull out some of the causes of allergies caused by exercise, you can breathe a lot and know what you are. 

The feeling is entirely healthy and will be relieved just after your workout.

You are Breathing in Dirty Air

Breathing more oxygen when you exercise outdoors means more exposure to pollutants such as smoke and fumes that can irritate your nose.

Exposure to dirty air can irritate the nose and cause phlegm to drip off the nose as you exercise. 

You could try a saline rinse as a first-line treatment for breathing in dirty air. If you are using a saline remedy, you should use it immediately after exercise to clean up the environmentally irritating substances you must have taken while running through a contaminated environment.

As you become more sensitive to the pollutants as they build up in your body over time, this will help keep your anger manageable.

You are Exercising in Cold, Dry Air

When you rejuvenate your cardio in cold and dry weather, your body’s natural response is to expel excess mucus to protect your nasal membranes. 

A European Medical Journal study found that cold-weather sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and ice hockey cause a runny nose, a “skier’s nose.”

Dr. Yan says the role of the nose is to moisturize the air that enters. The mucous membranes cover the nasal passages to protect your lungs from germs and irritants.

When a little air is moist, your nose must come out to protect all your breath.

Neurological factors can also cause a runny nose after exercise. “In response to cold, dry air.

The neurotransmitter acetylcholine alters the signalling pathways in the parasympathetic nervous system leading to a runny nose in or immediately after exercise. 

To manage a running nose during cold seasons like winter, make your workouts more stable indoors.

A water heater nearby can help keep your room from getting too cold and your nose from getting wet.

However, if you like snowy skiing or skiing, that is not an attractive or exciting strategy. Try to soften the air by wearing a face mask or gaiter. Each time you exhale, you can catch the warm, moist air from your mouth to reduce the dryness of your nose.

why does my nose run when I exercise

You Are Experiencing Rhinitis

Runner’s rhinitis is a common disease for runners, especially those who run out.

When you engage in cardiovascular exercises, you usually start to breathe faster and breathe more through your nose.

When you are out, you breathe in pollutants and irritants, and one way your body can prevent these impurities from reaching your lungs is by producing mucus in your nose, which will trap these agents.

Consider spraying saline spray on each nostril before you run out the next.

An antihistamine spray could also help if you do not have any health or medication side effects. However, if the runny nose persists or worries you, consult your doctor, who may prescribe it for you.

Feeling a runny nose while exercising is more common than you think. Usually, in this context, what causes the nose to run is the swelling of the nasal walls.

This inflammation of the mucous membranes can produce many side effects, including runny nose, watery eyes, congestion, etc.

The Asthma Allergy Foundation of America says that more than 50 million people experience various forms of allergies yearly.

Exercise, especially outdoors, can cause rhinitis and the associated symptoms.

This can often happen during the spring and summer months when allergies and seasonal peaks are highest.

For some people, exercise-induced rhinitis is related to low-grade allergies, says Omid Mehdizadeh, MD, an otolaryngologist at Eye, Ear & Skull Base Center at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute.

If you have allergies (diagnostic or non-diagnostic), moderate or intense exercise may increase the risk of allergies, according to an August 2020 study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

At the same time, low-level activities such as walking are less likely to trigger symptoms.

This is because when you breathe harder and faster, you breathe more, says Drs. Mehdizadeh.

Do you know that your breathing increases from 15 breaths per minute- 12 liters of air when you rest to 40 to 60 breaths per minute- 100 liters of air while exercising?

Also, when you inhale with your mouth instead of your nose, as you can during strenuous exercise, you expose the lower respiratory tract to high levels of allergies.

In fact, during exercise, you get a big “hit” of allergies in your lower airways, which can cause reactions as long as you have an initial allergy.

Drs. Yan says Exercise is one of the most important ways to find the underlying physical ailment.

So if you have not been diagnosed with allergies recently, talk to your primary care physician about a referral to an allergist and immunologist for testing.

The specialist may prescribe nasal steroid sprays and antihistamines, as they work best when used together, says Dr. Yan.

Also, if you have nasal-related symptoms, using topical sprays is better than taking anti-allergy pills such as Benadryl, Claritin, or Zyrtec.

What You Should Know About Rhinitis

There are two kinds of Rhinitis, namely: allergic and non-allergic Rhinitis.

About Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic Rhinitis is also known as hay fever. It is the most common type of Rhinitis caused by the immune system’s response to certain environmental factors. 

The immune system sometimes reacts to an allergen that we perceive as harmful; it activates an immune response. 

There are different ways people can react to an allergen: To reduce the allergen and the damage it can do, the immune system releases antibodies that make it less effective. 

These antibodies are activated whenever the immune system detects an allergen and releases chemicals such as histamine into the bloodstream. 

This process causes allergies and associated symptoms. Pollen is the most common cause of allergies in people. 

Pollen is a powder made from plants to fertilize other plants. 

Non-Allergic Rhinitis

Non-allergic Rhinitis is not easy to detect and diagnose. However, it is not uncommon; it accounts for about a quarter of all rhinitis cases. 

The symptoms are not triggered by the immune system but by the blood vessels affected by various factors that produce congestion. 

Some non-allergic causes of Rhinitis include strong odorous chemicals, perfumes, air pollution, climate change, tobacco, etc. 

Bacterial infections can also cause chronic Rhinitis.

Allergic Rhinitis and non-allergic Rhinitis have similar symptoms, which include runny nose, congestion, nasal congestion, etc. 

Exercise can cause both types of Rhinitis in a variety of ways.

Exercise & Rhinitis

Exercise can cause allergic and non-allergic Rhinitis, causing you to have a runny nose.

Scientists have studied the links between exercise and Rhinitis, especially highlighting that Rhinitis is more common among athletes than non-athletes. 

Exercise is the most common and essential way people show severe allergies. Some of the ways exercise expose peoples to Rhinitis include:

– while running or participating in other forms of outdoor exercise, people may inhale pollen regularly, leading to allergic Rhinitis. They may also be exposed to polluted smells, leading to Rhinitis that isn’t allergic. 

– By engaging in swimming, people are exposed to chlorine and other chemicals that can trigger Rhinitis that isn’t allergic

– By engaging in winter sports like Ice hockey increases exposure to cold and dry air, which can trigger Rhinitis

Exercise can increase exposure, but there are some practical ways to control the symptoms and reduce the impact!

Tip to Manage Exercise-Induced Rhinitis

You can manage and treat your runny nose and other symptoms you may have using the tips in this article. 

These tips include over-the-counter medications, homoeopathic remedies, and behavioral changes.

To manage exercise-induced Rhinitis:

Change Behavior

Identifying the negative factors that affect you is very important because it allows you to reduce your exposure to the substances. Reducing exposure can mean avoiding outdoor exercise, not swimming in chlorine-infested pools, etc.


You could use many types of medicines to relieve the symptoms of Rhinitis.

Antihistamines: taken orally to provide relief from symptoms of allergies. Common types include Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra, etc.

Decongestants: work to reduce nasal congestion and can be taken orally or by nasal spray.

Natural Remedies

You could try natural remedies like using a nose mask or exercising on the treadmill in a controlled environment.

Like most common allergies, exercise-induced Rhinitis is common among both “real” and recreational athletes – whether they have nasal congestion or not, but more common in those with allergies.

The symptoms of Rhinitis are prevalent in winter, the lead author of the study, Dr. William Silvers of the Allergy Asthma & Immunology Clinic of Colorado, said in an email. 

It’s pervasive for people who run outside, but it can also be indoors, says Silvers.


About 20 percent of Americans suffer from allergic Rhinitis, but surprisingly, 40 percent of endurance athletes suffer from this condition. 

And although it is well known that exercise can cause asthma, anaphylaxis, a life-threatening illness, and whole-body reaction – it is true.

In rare cases, Rhinitis can be fatal and deadly; it is unclear what irritates. 

In particular, nitrogen dioxide – found in automotive exhaust – has been the subject of recent research involving body allergies and athletes.

Of course, athletes are not the only ones with respiratory problems caused by strenuous physical activity – swimmers, divers, boxers, golfers, and skiers experience similar symptoms. 

Interestingly, asthma-induced Rhinitis is more prevalent among Winter Olympic athletes. 

Exercising Rhinitis will not cause you any real damage. But Silvers says, “it raises your nose and your clothes!” 

But if you work regularly and your nose bothers you, nasal spray – significantly, ipratropium bromide nasal spray – can help. 

If the irritation is in your lungs, Silvers recommends using an albuterol inhaler before exercise and as needed afterwards.

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