There's a medical reason why you might not be good at exercise

Exercise allergy is a real thing [Photo: Getty]

Disclaimer: okay, so it’s incredibly rare, but we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt anyway.

If ever you needed an excuse to get out of a charity fun run, or you’re sick of dog walking in the rain every evening, then we may have the answer for you. No longer will you have to feign a headache or complain about a painful ankle, because now you can simply say you’re allergic to exercise.

And despite it sounding like a dodgy caption for a fridge magnet, an exercise allergy is actually a real thing.

Medically known as ‘exercise-induced anaphylaxis’, it’s a reaction that comes on when the body exerts itself. But rather than just becoming a bit short of breath, this allergy can result in some far more serious side effects including hives, swelling and nausea. So you might not be able to fake it quite so easily, after all.

You may not have heard of an exercise allergy before, and that’s because it’s quite a rare disorder. Scientists predict it affects less than 50 in every 100,000 people. It was first reported in 1979, but hasn’t really grown that much traction since.

Wouldn’t you have liked to know this in your school days? [Photo: Pexels]

For some people, the effects of the allergy are induced by different foods. This particular disorder is known as ‘food-dependent, exercise-induced anaphylaxis’ and common foods include shellfish and wheat. Around 30 – 50% of people who do suffer from an exercise allergy find that theirs depends on what they’ve eaten the day before.

Others find that their menstrual cycle makes a difference, because women experience high levels of oestrogen during this time, which binds to the cells and can bring on the allergy.

And the real catch 22? A great way to prevent an exercise allergy is to be fit in the first place, which doesn’t bode well if you’re trying to improve your fitness but don’t fancy swelling up each time you go for a run.

However, if you are a sufferer, the allergic reaction can be helped with an EpiPen, which isn’t the greatest solution, but it’s better than nothing.

So next time you’re complaining about going to the gym, bear in mind that at least you can do so without any nasty side effects.

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