Department of Health & Human Services
Premiers Active April
One of the many reasons to get active outdoors in April is the (usually) great weather. The sweltering summer is over and the winter chill is yet to set in. But one of the hidden dangers you might not be aware of is ultraviolet (or UV) radiation.
During April, the sun’s UV is regularly at levels high enough to damage the skin, causing sunburn, eye damage and skin damage, which can ultimately lead to cancer. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Victoria, with more than 40,000 cases diagnosed each year. The good news is that, with the right gear and a few reminders, you can reduce your risk of skin cancer at any age.
Find out when UV levels are high enough to damage your skin and sun protection is required. You can find these times in the weather section of daily newspapers, online at SunSmart or the Bureau of Meteorology or you can download the free SunSmart app.
When you’re shopping or dressing for exercise, look for long-sleeved and collared tops, as well as long pants that cover as much skin as possible. Some fabrics even include a UV protection factor (UPF) that will absorb and reflect UV rays. If you’re a swimmer consider a rashie, wetsuit or avoid bathers with cut-out designs.
Many sunscreens are made especially for physical activity, so be sure to try a few different formulas to find one that works for you. Whatever your choice, make sure it’s SPF30 or higher, broad-spectrum and water-resistant (especially as you’ll be working up a sweat!) Apply it 20 minutes before you head outdoors and re-apply it every two hours – or more often if you’re sweating heavily. Why not use a carabiner to attach your top up application of sunscreen to your fitness belt or gym bag so you don’t forget?
Most people grab a baseball cap, but these will only shade your forehead, at best. To protect your face, nose, neck, ears and eyes, go for a broad-brimmed, legionnaires or bucket style. A hat also stops sweat getting in your eyes.
Take a walk in a local park or garden that has plenty of trees or find a shady spot for your outdoor workout. You might have the perfect spot in your own backyard or know of a great shade sail nearby you can use.
Check the tag when you’re buying a new pair of sunglasses to make sure they meet the Australian Standard for sun protection (AS/NZS1067:2003) and consider a close-fitting, wrap around style that will protect eyes best.
Last updated: November 29, 2016 at: 5:14 pm
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