Exercise and Sunscreen: What You’re Doing Wrong

Sun drenched flowers are beautiful. You ... not so much.

Aaah, the great outdoors.  With spring, we emerge from our sweater cocoons and enjoy the sunshine.  Lots of people begin to take their workouts outside; we just need to remember to have fun and stay safe.

Yes, I’m talking sunscreen today.  So easy to overlook, so easy to do wrong!  Yes, wrong … you are probably leaving yourself open to some bad burns, my friend.  Here’s how to avoid them.

Put on enough. You’re supposed to use a shot glass full ( 1 oz.) of sunscreen.  Most people use 1/2 to 1/4 of that amount.  This means that SPF 30 is more like SPF 15.  So start slathering it on.

Put it on 30 minutes before you need it. It takes a while for the sunscreen to sink in and protect the skin.  You want to apply it thirty minutes before you head outside.  That way you’re protected from the very first beam.

Be aware of rubbing. This could be you toweling off some sweat, or a rub spot with your clothing during a sporting activity, but make sure you reapply where rubbing happens.  These types of sunburns are particularly uncomfortable if you get one.

Every two hours. Sunscreen loses its SPF powers pretty quickly.  You have to reapply every two hours.

Consider a hat. While having creams is definitely a great way to go, think about adding a layer of protection with some clothing or a hat.  They make SPF swim gear for kids and adults now and there’s nothing like the brim of a hat to keep the sun off your very sensitive and prone-to-wrinkles face.

Avoid the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm window. Exercising in the morning is also a great way to beat the heat of summer.  But staying out of the sun during the strongest rays of the day can really help you avoid a bad burn.  Likewise, an evening run as the sun is setting will be cooler on your body and less harsh on the skin.

Do you use enough sunscreen?  I hope this post will encourage you to be a little more diligent.  If skin cancer seems like a remote possibility to you and not a good enough scare tactic think about this: droopy, wrinkly skin is definitely NOT sexy and the vast majority of wrinkles are created by sun damage.  I’m just saying …

Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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4 Responses to Exercise and Sunscreen: What You’re Doing Wrong

  1. Tara Burner May 19, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    I don’t use any sunscreen…ever.
    I prefer getting my Vit. D and not putting pore blocking, chemical goop on me…and yes, they do make organic natural sunscreen but it still is funky to me.
    While I do live in FL, I’m not outside that much :(
    and rarely at peak hours
    there’s also research that shows sunscreen itself does more damage than the sun so I just go with what I feel is right for me…au naturel lol

  2. Lisa Johnson May 19, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Tara, I’d disagree with you here. I do think avoiding the chemical ones and sticking with the barrier SPFs is better for you and there are risks with that as well, but having had family members and friends with skin cancer I’m not willing to take the risk. L–

  3. Tara Burner May 20, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    Sorry about your family members and friends…
    I’m more a all natural type…
    I dont go to dr’s, I don’t wear makeup, perfume or any of that
    I use coconut oil for moisturizer (if and when I use it)
    I don’t use much of anything as far as products go…shampoo/conditioner once/week-10 days (and no it doesnt get nasty)
    I’m just a ‘whatever’ type of person but that’s me…
    one has to do what they are comfortable with for her/himself :)

  4. Axel August 10, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    Having lost my father to melanoma and surviving one myself, I try to always put sunscreen on. The problem is, eventually it runs into my eyes and I’m stuck with stinging tears the rest of the day… is there any way I can avoid this? I can’t be good for my vision…

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