Department of Health & Human Services
Premiers Active April
Keeping cool and comfortable as you work up a sweat is important. But given most physical activity happens outside, there’s another feature you should consider – sun protection.
Although it might not be a scorcher when you’re out and about, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can still be high enough to damage your skin, especially if you’re clocking up lots of time outdoors.
In the short-term, UV damage causes sunburn or tanning. But over time, as it adds up, the damage can result in premature ageing, eye damage and skin cancer.
Don’t let that stop you from enjoying your outdoor exercise – with the right gear, you can prevent UV damage and cut your cancer risk.
Think long-sleeved tops and full-length pants that cover as much skin as possible. For example, a polo shirt and leggings is an ideal choice. Avoid singlets and designs with cut-outs that leave your skin exposed to UV.
Covering up doesn’t mean you need to create your own personal sauna of clothing. While cotton lets your skin breathe, it also absorbs moisture, which can make for an uncomfortable workout. Look for moisture-wicking fabrics like polyester or merino blends. Many brands make their own specialised moisture-wicking ranges for exercise, so shop around for something you like the feel of.
If you really want to take the guesswork out, shop for clothing that carries a UPF rating. These ratings are based on how much UV radiation can get through the material when it’s dry and not stretched. Anything above UPF40 blocks more than 97% of UV rays. But remember – that only applies to the skin that fabric covers! A UPF50 singlet top isn’t going to cover you as well as a long sleeve pop top.
Hats are great for helping protect the delicate skin on your face and reduce UV damage to your eyes. For the best protection a big broad-brim hat gets the gold medal but isn’t practical for every sport. A legionnaire’s cap is a good swap. A baseball cap can also be a good option if you’re on the go.
Your eyes are extra sensitive to UV damage – especially if you’re by the water or on a court where there are a lot of reflective surfaces. Slide on a pair of sunnies to top off your look. A close-fitting, wrap-around style is best. Once you’ve covered up with clothing, slop on some SPF30 broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen to any uncovered skin, and you’re good to go!
You can also prevent UV damage by exercising outside of peak UV times (morning and evening in April). Find the sun protection times for your area on the free SunSmart app.
For more tips on sun protection visit the SunSmart website.
Last updated: April 19, 2017 at: 11:52 am
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