Who doesn't love to train outdoors? It's one thing to run on a treadmill in the dead of winter, but it's quite another to be stuck inside when the sun is shining, skies are clear and you're actually going somewhere. But skin damage from harmful UVA rays is quite a real thing, and unless you take precautions, you're putting yourself at risk for long-term effects of sun exposure.
The simplest way to avoid the sun is to train indoors. However, this is not as much fun as doing workouts outside, and it's less likely your friends can or will join. The downside? You won't be as prepared to swim, bike and run outdoors. The upside? Zero risk of sun exposure.
If you're back home before 9 a.m., you'll avoid the full strength of the sun's damaging rays, as well as some of the heat that comes with them.
If you venture out after 5 p.m., you might be rewarded with temperatures that drop slightly, and you'll also avoid the strongest, most damaging solar radiation.
Wear Sunblock and Reapply
If you're going to wear sunblock, don't forget to reapply, especially if you're getting really sweaty on a run or have just come out of the pool. Don't forget to apply sun block to your face, especially your nose, and also the tops and backs of your ears.
Use Moisturizing Cream w/ SPF
If you use a moisturizing cream, choose one that offers SPF 30 or higher. You might even be able to skip the sunblock and just go with protective moisturizing cream if you're outdoors in the morning or late afternoon.
Keep Your Kisser Blocked
In winter, you put lip balm on to protect your lips; in the summer, under the sun, you need to do the same thing. Choose a lip balm with at least SPF 30 protection.
Wear a Hat or a Visor
Wearing a hat will keep the sun off your head and keep you cooler for longer. The bill of the hat, or a visor if that's more your thing, will keep the sun off of your face.
Wear Sun-Protective Sun Sleeves
The next-best option to staying indoors is covering your skin with an SPF-rated fabric. Sun sleeves are easy to get on, if you're not wet or sweaty, and off. If you go this route, make sure to use sunblock on any exposed skin that's not covered by the sleeves.
Train Under Naturally Shaded Routes
If you're lucky enough to live in a region with tree-shaded routes, opt for these roads if possible if you're training between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. You'll avoid the strongest sun, and you might even enjoy slightly cooler temps.
If you're swimming outdoors, block up before you get into the water. Ask a friend to apply sunblock your back, neck and shoulders, and pay special attention to the skin just at the edge of where you swimsuit stops. If you're swimming for more than an hour, re-apply sunblock.
When choosing a sunblock, durability is as important as SPF. Choose a sweat- and water- resistant product. And select something that allows your skin to breathe—labeled as "non-comedogenic."
Protect Yourself From Sun-Protection
Greasy hands are a no-no, especially while riding—you need to have good control of your bike. Use rubber or latex gloves or even a small plastic sandwich bag to keep your hands clean when applying sun block. Or, use a spray-on or a solid stick sun-protecting product.
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