Outdoor workout? Protect your skin

Tips for avoiding skin damage from the sun

“Feeling the burn” is a good thing when you’re talking about a workout, unless it’s a sunburn. If you’re exercising outside—and hooray if you are—you need to protect your skin from the sun. Check out these tips for avoiding skin damage:

• Exercise before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., when the sun isn’t as strong.

• Choose the shadiest route for your run, walk, etc.

• Always apply sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, even on cloudy days (SPF 30 or higher if you burn easily).

• Choose a sunscreen that blocks both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. The Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) recommends sunscreens that contain zinc or titanium.

• Don’t skip the sunscreen if you’re going out for only a short time—you can get sunburned in as little as 15 minutes.

• Don’t forget to put sunscreen on your ears, arms, legs and hands. If you’re biking, don’t forget your lower back, because clothes can ride up when you’re bent over.

• Put sunscreen on 30 minutes before you go out, so your skin has time to absorb it.

• Apply the sunscreen before you get dressed, to protect your skin from any rays that get through your clothing (especially if you’re wearing lightweight mesh fabrics).

• Wear workout clothing that has UV protection built into the fabric.

• If you’re going to be outside for a long time, take a small tube or stick of sunscreen along and reapply it every two hours, or more often if you’ve been swimming or sweating a lot.

• Wear a hat with a wide brim and UV-blocking sunglasses (preferably a wraparound style), and cover your neck with a bandana.