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Get Sun Safe

Photo Credit Christine Blanchette

As the immortal Yogi Berra would say, I have that feeling of déjà vu all over again. 

It happens every year in late spring, a beautiful day turns hot and I notice active people out and about in summer wear minus hats, sunglasses and more than likely, sunscreen. 

It’s a rite of passage for many who quickly find out what happens to unprotected skin after hours of exposure. 

Sunburn is no joke, beginning with dryness, redness and blistering that can require medical attention and even lead to heat exhaustion or melanoma skin cancer.

Working out on sunny days can be a challenge for some to stay sun safe while keeping hydrated, yet you don’t need to avoid the sun entirely. 

Protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays is more important than getting a tan. Sun block lotion with high UV protection is a lot safer than tanning oil.

The most vulnerable areas to the sun are your head, face, neck, back, chest and both sides of your legs. You might think that covers just about everything however, 

I was at the beach one particularly hot summer day when I applied sun block lotion to my exposed skin except for one ankle that had wet sand on it. 

Hours later I found myself in pain from sunburn on my unprotected ankle.

Preparation is the key; first always check the weather conditions before heading out which will allow you to protect yourself while putting the brakes on premature ageing.

Here are my sun safe preparation tips, along with some hydration advice from registered dietitian and sport nutritionist, Kara Marshall:

Run in shady areas and trails where possible to stay cool.

Run early to avoid the heat from 11-4 pm.

Wear UV protective sunglasses.

Wear a hat and sun protective clothing such as a long shirt to keep you covered.

Apply proper sun block lotion.

Eat hydration foods such as melon, citrus fruits, berries and grapes.

If you are a coffee drinker, have one cup of water for each cup of coffee to stay hydrated.

Carry a sports drink for electrolytes, or… Bring a water bottle with you and find a run route that has water places to fill your bottle.

When it comes to drinking enough water, Marshall says, “That would depend on a number of factors such as humidity, intensity of activity, clothing worn, if a belt/backpack is on, heat acclimatization, etc., but in general, the recommendation is about 3/4-1 cup every 15-20 minutes. I am also more likely to recommend electrolytes with hot weather and to consider freezing water bottles ahead of time to help cool the body as they defrost and make the liquid more palatable.”

These tips should help you to be sun ready and enjoy your activity from walking your dog to catching a few rays in the backyard.

Our Fitness Friday feature is submitted and written by Christine Blanchette so please follow her on Twitter as well as her Run With It Youtube Channel.

Enjoy the weekend and Happy Memorial Day to our American friends.