Sun Protection for Runners

When avid runners are asked why they run, one of the reasons that comes up the most is, “for my health.”

And it’s true: running is one of the most beneficial things you can do if you’re hoping to increase your cardiac health, your overall stamina, and your mental well-being.

It’s surprising, then, to hear about the number of runners who don’t think twice about sun protection during long, hot runs.

It is absolutely critical for runners to be aware of their skin; according to Medical News Today, white runners have a much higher chance of developing melanoma than the general population. Additionally, all those lovely anti-aging benefits of running may not be so apparent if the sun prematurely ages your skin!

Think it’s too difficult to make skin care and sun protection part of your running routine? Think again. Taking care of your skin is almost as simple as lacing up your sneakers. Below are a few tips anyone can follow to make sure their skin stays healthy, young, and sunburn-free:

Apply waterproof sunscreen 30 minutes before your run: many runners and other athletes don’t wear sunscreen because they don’t like the idea of wearing a slick, greasy lotion that can mix with their sweat. However, there are waterproof varieties of every popular brand of sunscreen, and you’ll hardly notice you’re wearing it. Find one with an SPF of at least 15, and reapply every two hours.

Wear a hat and sunglasses: Your skin is not the only thing that needs protection from UVA and UVB rays; your eyes, too, can be damaged by the sunlight. Wearing sunglasses with UVA protection is a simple way to combat the problem. It is also a great idea to wear a hat as you run, to protect your scalp. Many running stores sell baseball caps that can wick moisture away.

Invest in sun protective clothing: a quick search online will bring up dozens of web sites that sell high-quality sun protective clothing, designed especially with runners and other outdoor athletes in mind. These clothes, which include tank tops, sports bras, t-shirts, and jackets, are lightweight and contain SPF protection.

Know when the sun is most intense, and plan your run accordingly: the sun’s rays are strongest between the hours of 10am and 4pm, and they hit their peak in the afternoon. If you can, try to train in the early morning or the evening to avoid encountering the sun when its rays are strongest.

Choose the right post-race clothes: many runners who participate in races bring clothes to change into after they race. The ideal post-race clothes with regards to sun protection are lightweight, long-sleeve t-shirts and sweats.

Follow these tips to save your skin, and next time you’re asked you will truly be able to tell people you run for your health!

About the Author:
Ann King is a blogger and skincare enthusiast who writes for Torrey Pines Dermatology.

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