As the weather warms up, doing things outside becomes more and more attractive.
The warmer months are ideal for spending time with friends and family, from having picnics and barbecues to outdoor rec-league sports and other activities.
But along with spending more time outdoors comes the risk of overexposure from the sun.
Protecting yourself so that you can enjoy your time outdoors requires some discipline.
A little sun exposure is healthy, can be pleasurable, and even necessary. Benefits of sun exposure are increased immune system response and improved moods that stem from the Vitamin D that is the body’s response to sun exposure.
That said, too much sun exposure can have damaging short-term and long-term effects on the body. In addition to sunburns, too much sun exposure can negatively impact the immune system, lead to certain cancers, and damage the collagen in the skin.
Collagen is the primary protein in the body. It strengthens bones and muscles and gives skin the elasticity it needs to move and recover.
Unfortunately, too much sun exposure over time has a deleterious effect on the ability of the body to maintain proper collagen levels and can lead to skin damage, more commonly known as leathery skin.
Another issue with too much sun exposure is the risk of damage to the eyes and vision. Without proper eye protection, the retinas and cornea can suffer long-term damage making vision more difficult and blurry.
The key then is to provide enough protection from the sun as needed to allow you to enjoy the time outdoors.
Whether you’re hiking, running, catching a sporting event, or NASCAR race, using sunscreen, wearing the correct type of clothing, including eye protection, are crucial.
That makes sun safety vital for you to understand, just as the kind of food you’re eating matters to your overall health as well.
Tips For Enjoying The Outdoors Safely
Before you spend a day or weekend out and about, you need to take precautions to protect yourself and your skin from the risks of sun exposure. That said, there are a few suggestions to help you protect yourself and get the most enjoyment out of your outdoor time.
- Always know the weather and terrain
- Wear loose-fitting clothing. Layers are the best idea
- Drink plenty of fluids. Water is ideal
- Apply sunscreen regularly
- Wear eye protection, whether they are sports sunglasses or casual eyewear
The first thing in doing something outdoors is to know what the weather will be like and the type of terrain you may be encountering. Understanding these factors will help you prepare for your time, including the kind of clothes to wear.
A key to being comfortable while also being protected from sun exposure is to wear layers of clothes that you can take off or put on as the weather changes.
Loose-fitting, breathable materials are ideal as they won’t make you too hot, yet let your clothes “breathe” so that if you begin to overheat, you won’t get sweaty or too hot.
Of course, any day outside in the sun means that you need to drink fluids. Water is ideal as water helps the body regulate temperatures while also keeping you hydrated, one of the most crucial components for staying healthy.
Often, sports drinks may have too much sugar or sodium and lead to more dehydration than helping.
Another thing to consider is that the longer you’re outdoors, the more you need to consider using sunscreen. Sunscreens are listed by their SPF or Sun Protection Factor.
The SPF details how long your skin is protected in direct sunlight. Most sunscreens offer a minimum of 30 minutes of sun protection, but it’s important to reapply sunscreen before the recommended time, especially if you’re in the water or beginning to sweat.
Last, eye protection is a critical factor. You need to consider wearing a hat and sunglasses vital.
The longer your eyes are exposed to the sun, you can develop various ailments and issues with your vision. Get a pair of polarized glasses, which are ideal for protecting your eyes, especially around water.
Protecting yourself from too much sun exposure is one of the easiest things you can do to ensure having a great time this summer. Otherwise, you can be setting yourself up for a world of hurt in the short or long term.