Protecting Your Skin Outdoors


Protect Your Skin

Going outdoors for a walk, run, bike ride, or picnic is a great and healthy way to spend your time. However, too much time in the sun can cause a variety of issues, and not just for those of us with very pale skin. While lighter skin may make it easier to spot a sunburn, everyone can suffer from problems if they receive too much exposure to the sun.

Plan for the Long Term

Some people burn very easily when outdoors. Half an hour outside and you might be bright red and in pain. However, if this is you, then you probably are already very aware of your need for protection. Unfortunately, the rest of us may not be thinking about it quite so much. But wearing sunscreen and bringing a hat can make a dramatic difference over a long period of time. Harmful solar rays can damage your DNA, and you might not see the results for decades.

Look Younger

Daily application of sunscreen can cause huge differences in how your skin ages. While you won’t notice day to day, the skin of someone who has applied daily sunscreen for 20 years will look markedly different than the skin of someone who has gone without. Studies have shown that some signs of aging such as wrinkles will show up later and less frequently on those who apply a daily coating of sunscreen. Additionally, it can prevent your skin from developing blotches or red spots. Remember to use a wide spectrum sunscreen that will block both UVA and UVB rays from the sun. UVA rays, which cause aging, can pass through things like windows or clouds, and will not leave a sunburn, but will slowly damage your skin.

Lower Your Risk of Cancer

Aside from cosmetic effects, sunscreen will greatly decrease your risk of developing certain health problems. Skin Cancer is an expensive, painful, and unfortunately all too common malady nowadays. The good news though, is that it is mostly preventable. The FDA recommends that you wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which will block 97% of harmful rays. Wearing a higher SPF will protect against more, but there is no evidence that an SPF higher than 60 will give any real benefit. Remember to apply every two hours when in the sun, and that a higher SPF will not last longer. Wearing sunscreen is such a simple step that everyone can take to improve their chances of maintaining a high quality of life as long as possible.






Staying Hydrated

A photo by Aidan Meyer.

Staying Hydrated  

Getting out and about can be great, but it’s important to remember that staying hydrated is more than just drinking when you are thirsty. Here are some tips and facts to help you stay hydrated.

Are You Drinking Enough?

By some estimates, up to 75 percent of Americans do not meet their recommended water intake. How much water you need will vary depending on your size and activity, but one good indicator of your hydration is the color of your urine. If it is a pale yellow, you are probably okay, but a deeper color can indicate dehydration. Remember that your body constantly loses water through your sweat, breathing, and bowel movements. If you have been sweating more, you will need to replenish that lost water. This is why we often feel thirsty after a workout or on a hot day.

It’s a Big Deal

Dehydration can cause a myriad of issues. Even a small decrease in water intake can lead to feeling unfocused or foggy. Water allows our bodies to carry out many of the essential reactions that keep us alive. Not drinking enough water can cause us to feel tired, irritable, and can decrease our memory. Just drinking an extra glass or two of water  every day can cause a massive difference in how we feel and in our ability to function effectively.

How to Better Stay Hydrated

So how do we stay better hydrated? When at home, make an effort to keep a tally of how many glasses of water you have had every day. Talk with your doctor, or find an estimate of how much water you should need for your body weight. If you feel hungry, try getting some water and waiting a while instead. Sometimes our minds will misinterpret thirst as hunger, and then we can end up eating more than we need to while not solving our dehydration problem. If we drink water instead, we limit our extra calories and stay hydrated at the same time. When exercising, bring a water bottle and refill it frequently. Get a bottle you can drink comfortably from, if you are struggling to get water out of it, you will be much less likely to drink enough. Hiking a trail away from a water source can be a great outdoor activity, but make sure to carry several liters with you.



Biking Etiquette


Biking Safely and Politely

Biking can be one of the best ways to get around. Using a bike for transportation or exercise will help you stay or get fit, prevent pollution, and save money. But before you head out the door, make sure you are familiar with some simple biking etiquette.

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Get Outside and Walk


Get Outside and Walk

Exercise can take many forms. But be it walking, running, swimming, or playing sports, the outcomes on our health can be massive. You don’t have to run ten miles before breakfast to see changes though.   Walking just half an hour a day can make a measurable difference in your health. Studies have found that a half hour walk can be the difference between weight gain, and staying slimmer, even if that is the only physical activity that you do in a day

Keep The Doctor Away

Your waistline isn’t the only place that could see a difference though. Besides helping you build a small amount of muscle, half an hour of walking can also decrease your risk of developing physical ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or stroke. It can even lower your chances of heart disease, the number one killer in America. The important step is to make your exercise part of your daily routine. 30 minutes may not seem like much, but if you do it consistently, it will add up. Increasing your body’s activity by consistently getting moving every day is the key.

It’s Not Just Physical

Getting out of your house and going for a walk has been shown to help your mind too. Consistent but light physical activity can improve your mood and help to reduce the severity of some symptoms of depression. On top of that, getting outside and breathing some fresh air can help us to be more creative and happier, feeling more connected to the world and the people around us. For some of us, your thirty minutes of exercise can be a social activity. If that isn’t your thing, just pop in some headphones and find some solitude on even a busy path. If you really like to be alone, then find the times that trails or areas will be empty, and spend some time in your own company.

Building Community.

Having places to walk, run, or explore make huge differences in communities. Communities where people have the ability to be healthier reap the benefits. Healthier residents will be happier, more productive, and will need less costly healthcare. A community full of more energetic and satisfied people will be safer, and more able to provide for ourselves and the next generation. Public areas can become meeting places, bringing our communities together and helping us forge new relationships and connections.