Exercising outdoors is good for your body and it often boosts your mood. When you exercise outside, it’s important to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, even on cloudy days.
Here are 7 important tips to help prevent sun damage and reduce your risk of skin cancer:
- Avoid exercising between 10am and 4pm, when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
- Use a broad spectrum sunscreen that offers UVA (causes sunburns) and UVB (causes premature aging) protection with SPF 30 or higher. Choose a sports-specific or water-resistant sunscreen so it won’t wash off easily when you sweat. Avoid spray sunscreen because coverage is less reliable.
- Apply sunscreen a half hour before going outdoors. Don’t forget to put sunscreen on all exposed areas of skin. This includes the back of your neck, behind your ears, the tip of your nose, your scalp and your hands. You should use about 1 - 2 ounces of sunscreen for one application, or about as much as a shot glass. Most people only use about 25 - 50% of the recommended amount.
- Reapply sunscreen every 1 - 2 hours while outside. Reapply more often if you’re sweating or swimming, even if the sunscreen is water-resistant.
- Wear wraparound sunglasses that offer UV protection to shield your eyes and the sensitive skin around them.
- Wear sun protective clothing, such as long-sleeve shirts and hats with wide brims. Choose clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) listed for added protection. The higher the UPF, the more protection it offers.
- No matter what shade your skin is, be sure to use sun protection. Sun damage and skin cancer can occur in people with all skin types.
Keep these tips in mind when you exercise outdoors this summer to better protect your skin from the sun. It’s easy to forget how strong the sun can be and how much damage it can cause while enjoying the outdoors.
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