Summer is beginning to swelter! Due to the ongoing pandemic, you may find yourself riding outside more these days – both on the road and in outdoor socially-distanced classes. So, we want to talk sun with you…
If taken in moderation, the sun is healthy. Best to think of your time in the sun as periodization. Small doses are best. Use discretion when tanning and keep the following facts and tips in mind.
1. One percent of wrinkles is caused by aging; 99% are caused by the sun.
2. One severe sunburn in childhood doubles your risk for cancer as an adult.
3. Using an SPF of 15 during the first 20 years of life decreases your risk of cancer by 80%.
4. Approximately 80% of sun damage occurs during everyday activity (walking, driving, shopping). Only 20% of sun damage occurs from lying on the beach.
5. UVA = rays that penetrate the skin and cause premature aging.
6. UVB = rays that penetrate the skin and cause burning and skin cancer.
7. UVA rays are emitted by computer screens and fluorescent lights.
8. A white cotton shirt has an SPFof approximately 8.
9. The UV Index is measure on a scale of 0 to 10+. The lower the UV Index, the longer your exposure time can be to the sun before skin damage occurs.
10. An SPF of 1 is equivalent to approximately 10 minutes worth of time in the sun.
SUN TIPS FOR ATHLETES
1. Use an SPF of 15-20. It blocks about 93% of UV rays.
2. Stay away from sunscreens with fragrance and alcohol. They burn the eyes when you sweat. Best times for being in the sun are before 11 am and after 4 pm. UVB rays are strongest between the hours of 11 am and 4pm.
3. There are myriad self-tanners. They obviously do not replace the benefits of being in the sun but give the appearance of a sun-stroked body. Remember that most self-tanners do not contain SPF protection. So even after you use them, you need to apply sunscreen.
4. Stay away from tanning machines. They emit approximately 95% UVA rays, which cause premature aging.
5. The road gets hot during the latter half of the day. The black tarmac absorbs the heat making the air around you very hot. Focus on fluid replacement…not just water. Sodium, glucose and carbohydrates are also needed, so that fluid does not simply pass through the colon.
6. Wear dark colors. They absorb more UV rays than light colors.
7. Apply approximately one teaspoonful-size of SPF to your face. Remember to apply sunscreen to your eyelids, ears and back of neck.
8. Carry travel-size sunscreen packs in your saddle bag. Sunscreen should be applied after wiping sweat away from your face, arms and legs.
9. Wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection. Cataracts and macular degeneration can occur from overexposure of the eyes to the sun.
Photo courtesy of Posh Cycling & Fitness Studio: College Park, MD