When warm and sunny weather arrives after the long, cold winter, we want to spend as much time outside as possible to soak it all up. This means summer activities like swimming, going to the beach, and outdoor sports. If you enjoy spending time out in the sun, here are some tips to make sure you’re enjoying it responsibly.
Whenever you are planning to spend extended time outdoors, be sure to stay under cover whenever possible. Seek out trees with plenty of shade or be sure to travel to the beach with a sun umbrella in tow to minimize your direct exposure and risk from the sun. For individuals with compromised immune systems or autoimmune disease, it is also best to equip yourself with complete UV-blocking swimwear and outdoor clothing for an additional layer of UV protection from your wardrobe.
Always apply a liberal amount of sunscreen anytime you are spending time outdoors, even if you do not intend to spend time in direct sunlight. Sunscreen is essential to protect the skin and body after spending hours in the sun on a warm and sunny summer day. Sunscreen will help you prevent the dangers of the sun’s UV rays.
When looking for a sunscreen, choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 or higher. There are sunscreens available that are more than 100 SPF for maximum protection, which is recommended for those with compromised immune systems or sensitive skin, the elderly, young children, and babies. Take the time to research, compare, and review various types of sunscreens and SPF rankings before choosing a sunscreen that is right for you and your household.
One of the best ways to make the most out of your time spent in the sun is to do so by limiting your time outdoors. Setting a time limit whenever you are outdoors and especially in direct sunlight can help to prevent sunburns as well as overexposure to the sun. If you want to avoid these negative consequences, pay attention to the time of day that you’re outside - sunlight is generally strongest between the hours of 10am-2pm.
This doesn't mean you should start avoiding sunlight. Far from it, in fact! Sunlight exposure is critical for enabling your body to synthesize vitamin D, which has a variety of benefits. If you want to go outside for that sweet vitamin D, studies recommend spending about 13 minutes outdoors at mid-day, at least 3 times/week. Of course, if you have darker skin, you will probably need to spend more time outside to get the same benefit.
Spending time outdoors and in the sun, even during summer months, does not have to be dangerous, especially with the proper preparation. When you take the necessary precautions and understand just how important it is to limit yourself to direct sunlight exposure, you can make the most out of any time you get to spend in the warmth and glow of our local star.