Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Danger of Exercising in the Sun

I am excited that summer is finally here. But, June is National Cancers of the Sun Month. So, as you show off the buff body that you’ve worked hard to create, keep yourself protected and cover up during certain hours of the day.

Excessive exposure to the sun and other sources of ultraviolet (UV) radiation is clearly associated with a higher risk of multiple forms of skin cancer.  Did you know that skin cancer is the most common of all cancers and outweigh all cancers combined?  Since skin cancer is diagnosed in more than 3.5 million Americans each year (and rising), experts from the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the American Academy of Dermatology, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and many other organizations are unanimous in strongly recommending that you should reduce your time in the sun.
UV radiation from the sun is especially damaging under certain conditions:

  • 10am – 4 pm  
  • Mid-Spring through mid-Fall
  • Latitudes nearer the equator (for example, Florida)
  • Higher altitudes
  • When there is no thick cloud cover (and clouds only block 20% of UV rays)
  • Near water, snow, or other highly reflective surfaces

Sun damage accumulates over time, so if you find yourself in these conditions often, consistent protection is a must. Remember that besides skin cancer, the sun can also cause cataracts and other eye problems, a weakened immune system, unsightly skin spots, wrinkles and "leathery" skin.
If you are exercising during summer, please try to schedule your outdoor activities in the early morning or later evening in order to stay out of the direct sun.  If you cannot reschedule your fitness activities, wear a hat, sunglasses and dark-colored woven clothes covering your arms and legs to try to keep the sunshine off your body.  Or, exercise in a shaded area.

Don’t forget to wear sunscreen each time you are outdoors. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays and use SPF 30 or higher.  Because you will be sweating while working out (or swimming), find a sunscreen that is water resistant which will give you 40 minutes of sun protection and apply it at least every two hours.
Exercising in the sun can be fun and a great change of pace to your regular fitness routine.  For the sake of your health, use common sense and don’t overdo your sun exposure.  Your body will thank you in the years to come!

Fitness for Health can help you build a healthier body by creating a customized, exercise regimen that addresses your unique concerns.  Whether you want to decrease your weight, tone, build muscle, increase flexibility or improve your athleticism, we can help you reach your goals!  Visit www.FitnessForHealth.org to learn how we can help you.

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