Be Safe in the Summer Sun

Written by: Leanne Bishop, Health Fitness Specialist

It is the most wonderful time of the year for any active person; summertime is here! Summer is a great time for an outdoor workout or any seasonal activity. However, getting too much of one thing can have a detrimental effect on the body. This includes too much heat, too many bugs, and our topic of discussion for this month, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Did you know that exercising outside increases your risk for skin related cancers? Not only does spending more time in the sun contribute to your increased risk of cancer, but also the lack of protective clothing, inevitable excess sweat, and unreliable sunscreen choices. Even though this is the most severe reaction to UV rays, mild reactions can still occur. This can include sunburn, skin texture changes, and premature aging (thick, wrinkled and leathery skin).

Knowing these detrimental effects does not mean you should halt outside activities all together. The sun is our primary source of absorbing Vitamin D, which increases our abilities to absorb calcium for stronger and healthier bones. As an avid exerciser or adventurer, there are several ways to protect yourself and still enjoy the outdoor activities you love! Incorporate the following tips below to help prevent potential UV damage.

  • Look for the shade. The sun’s UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try limiting your exposure during this time or exercise in the shade.
  • Wear protective clothing and accessories. Wear light-weight long sleeves and pants, wide brimmed hats and sunglasses that block 99-100% of UV rays.
  • Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Aim to use sunscreen that is ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) protected, water resistant or sport specific, and Sun Protection Factor (SPF) value of at least 15. Also, remember to reapply throughout the day as all sunblock eventually wears off!
  • Check the UV Index before stepping outside. The UV Index Scale ranges from 1 to 11+. The higher the index number, the stronger the sun’s UV rays.

This month, our content writers focused on being UV safe during exercise as well as other ways to obtain Vitamin D. Have peace of mind in the sun while enjoying the summertime fun!

Want More?

Exercise your Way to Healthy Skin

Protect your Skin While Working Out Under the Sun

Sun Fighting Super Foods

Featured Exercise: Kettlebell Windmill

References:

https://foh.psc.gov/calendar/summersafety.html

http://www.upmcmyhealthmatters.com/sun-safety-tips-for-outdoor-exercise/

https://www.precheck.com/blog/july-national-uv-safety-month

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