Sun Safety and Exercise

Jun 2

BY: Nikki Bechtel, PT,DPT,OCS, Cert. MDT- Corporate

Longer days and warmer temperatures welcome the outdoor exercise enthusiast.  Sun safety is important when planning outdoor exercise. Keep these simple tips in mind the next time you head out.



  • Timing counts.  Plan to exercise before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.  to avoid the sun at its strongest.
  • Lather up.  Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before outdoor exercise.  Reapply at least every two hours.  Perspiration and water activities may require earlier reapplication.  Higher sun protection factors (SPFs) provide greater ultraviolet B (UVB) protection, but remember no sunscreen blocks all rays.
  • Sunscreen expires.  Ensure that yours is up to date.  If your sunscreen has not been used recently, shake it so it is mixed well.
  • Cover up.  Wear a hat with at least a two-inch brim; sunglasses that block ultraviolet A (UVA) and UVB rays and have large frames that wrap around your face; and clothing with a high SPF that is light-colored in order to reflect the sun and keep you cooler.
  • Take cover.  Seek shaded areas when possible to avoid direct sun.
  • Plan your route. Take care when exercising near sand or water as these surfaces reflect light and can increase your exposure to damaging rays.
  • Hydrate.  Bring water to consume throughout your workout.  The required amount varies, but if you are active and perspiring, you should be drinking water.  A good rule of thumb: If you are thirsty, then you already are dehydrated.