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Some people jokingly say they’re allergic to exercise. But the truth is, many of the materials used in gym equipment, pools, and locker rooms are known to cause wheezing, sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes in even the most seasoned gym rats living with allergies. Even worse, harmful chemicals linked to all sorts of serious health problems, including thyroid disease and even obesity, are commonly found inside health clubs.

1. Yoga Mats

2. The Pool

3. The Locker Room

4. Disinfectants

5. The Smoothie/Snack Bar

6. Workout Clothing

7. Your Exercise Technique

If you don’t want to undo all your hard efforts with chemicals that will make you fat and unhealthy, a few simple strategies can help you to steer you clear of allergens and harmful compounds in the gym. (Of course, it’s always a good idea to figure out what you’re actually allergic to in the first place.)

Yoga Mats

Breaking into hives every time you perform downward dog is not the Zen-like situation you hoped for in yoga class. If your chakras are itchy, the problem could be the mat, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). While cushy natural rubber mats are a great, ecofriendly option for most yoginis, they’re a bad choice for people living with a latex allergy because trace amounts of latex may be present in the rubber mat. But instead of reaching for a toxic PVC mat laced with hormone-heckling plastic chemicals, latex allergy sufferers can find greener, safer mats made of hemp or organic cotton.

If you’re not allergic to latex, try a sustainable yoga mat, like the Gaiam Sol Shakti Rubber Yoga Mat or any mat from Jade Yoga.

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