Sun Safety: Keeping Your Skin Safe While Exercising in the Summer

The long winter has finally been banished, and warm weather is the rule for the next several months. Many people, thrilled to be released from winter’s grasp, have flocked to don't forget to protect your skin during the summer exercise routineoutdoor exercise. But beware! Although exercise is usually healthy, exercising in the sun has its own unique dangers. Read on for tips on how to keep your skin as healthy as your body.

Tip #1: Timing is everything. If at all possible, avoid outdoor exercise between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm: the time when the sun is at its peak power.

Tip #2: There’s no such thing as a good ray. Although sunburns are caused by UVB rays, UVA rays are actually far more prevalent and can penetrate even on cloudy days to cause skin damage. Although you see a good cloud cover, be sure to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays when exercising outside.

Tip #3: Don’t skimp on the screen. Choose a broad spectrum sports sunscreen of at least 15 SPF, and apply it everywhere before heading out to exercise. Don’t forget those easy-to-miss spots like your ears, the backs of your hands, and your scalp. If you’re spending a long time outside, plan to reapply after two hours.

Tip #4: Don’t forget to wear protection. The best way to keep out the sun’s rays is with a physical block, like longer pants and long-sleeve shirts. Of course, these aren’t always feasible for exercising in the summer, but consider wearing a lightweight, broad-brimmed hat to protect your face and neck, or wraparound sunglasses to protect the delicate skin around your eyes.

Tip #5: Water means extra caution. Many people love exercising in or near the ocean, a lake, or other body of water. The water cools them down, helping them forget about those searing rays of sunshine. Unfortunately, water actually magnifies the sun’s rays, making sunburn even likelier. Exercising beside the water or on light-colored sand or rock can be dangerous; the light color reflects the sun back upwards, again increasing the likelihood of sunburn or sun damage.