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SolRx Sunscreen Blog

Is Exercising Outdoors Better for Your Health?

outdoor exercise better for healthIt’s the start of Summer here at SolRx. And while it may seem inviting to take our workouts outdoors, the intensity of the sun can be an adversarial element that makes indoor exercise more inviting.

Combined with energy-zapping heat, dense city smog, and an increased concern about carbon emissions, it can seem like a safe alternative to hop on the treadmill or jump in the pool. But at the end of the day, is indoor exercise actually better for one’s health?

In short, no. No it is not. There have been a number of studies that show exercising outdoors is actually better for your health. Combined with our passion in keeping you protected from the sun’s harmful rays, below we shed light on why outdoor exercise is better for your health.

Outdoor Exercise for Emotional & Mental Health

While it may seem obvious that outdoor exercise improves physical health, studies have shown that getting outside can also boost mental and emotional health. In fact, a study led by scientists at Stanford revealed quantifiable evidence that walking in nature could lead to a lower risk of depression.Outdoor Hike

The study discovered that people who went for a 90 minute walk in a natural outdoor setting (as opposed to those who walked in a high-traffic urban environment) showed significantly lower activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression.

According to Gregory Bratman of Stanford, more than half of the world’s population lives in urban settings, and that’s forecasted to rise to 70 percent within a few decades. Just as urbanization and disconnection from nature have grown dramatically, so have mental disorders such as depression. In turn, taking a hike may be the best prescription for depression.

Mood-Boosting Benefits of Sun Exposure

In addition to the physical and emotional benefits of exercising in nature, individuals can also experience a dramatic boost in mood by getting outside on sunny days. Sun exposure is one of the most potent ways in which we absorb vitamin D, which is vital for both physical and mental health. 

Studies have shown that exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet light triggers the production of serotonin, a hormone that lifts mood. Low serotonin is associated with depression – particularly seasonal affective disorder (a form of depression that’s often experienced during the winter months when there is less sunlight.) The same lull feelings from a lack of sunlight may occur in individuals who are constantly cooped-up indoors.

Enjoying the benefits of exercise and recreation means getting outside and active, but also feeling the mood-boosting effects that stem from exposure to sunlight. Just remember to use a broad-spectrum sport sunscreen to ensure you stay protected.

Exercising Outdoors to Combat Mesothelioma & Cancer

Mesothelioma is a devastating and incurable form of cancer. For patients diagnosed with mesothelioma it means facing mortality, in addition to adapting to changes in one’s physical abilities, relationships, and overall self-sustainability.

According to an article at Mesothelioma.net, “all of this comes together to reduce a cancer patient’s quality of life and this can have a big impact on mental health. Cancer patients are at an increased risk for developing depression and anxiety and for experiencing stress, fear, and other negative emotions on a regular basis. It is important to be aware of this risk and to notice the signs of depression, either in yourself or a loved one, so you can get help and treatment.”

From medications to therapy, there are a number of tools to help fight the battle against cancer and seek relief from depression. However one of the most accessible and powerful strategies is to stay active outdoors and feel the effects of natural sunlight.

In any event, exercising outdoors is often better for your health than staying inside. Going back to nature, getting healthy exposure from the sun, and putting your body in motion can be the best form of therapy available. Just be conscious of the harmful risks at play when stepping out in the intense summer sun, and choose the right type of sunscreen to ensure you’re protected from both UVA and UVB rays.

Image by Sport Box

UVA vs UVB Rays: What is the Difference?

What’s the difference UVA vs UVB rays? It’s an important question that doesn’t always get the attention that it deserves. So to get to the bottom of it, let’s define exactly what these rays mean.

UVA vs UVB Rays What's the Difference

The level of sunlight that reaches the earth’s surface is composed of two primary types of rays, both of which are harmful to the skin: Long Wave Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Short Wave Ultraviolet B (UVB). Unlike UVB rays, UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin’s thickest layer otherwise known as the dermis. However, both UVA and UVB rays can pose potential issues with unprotected exposure.

To further underscore the difference between UVA vs UVB rays, below we explain what each of these types mean and how you can minimize their effects.

What is UVB?

As the primary culprit of sunburn and skin reddening, UVB rays are responsible for damaging the more superficial epidermal layers of the skin. UVB rays contribute to the development of skin cancer and photoaging (wrinkling). And contrary to popular belief, UVB rays do not significantly penetrate glass.

The intensity of UVB varies by location, season, and time of day. Between 10 AM and 4 PM from April to October are the most potent levels of which UVB hits the U.S. However, UVB rays can still burn and damage skin year-round. This is particularly common at high altitudes or against reflective conditions such as snow and ice. Against these conditions, UVB can reflect up to 80 percent of the rays. As a result, they can make contact with skin twice.

What is UVA?

Unlike UVB rays, UVA are present with relatively equal intensity throughout all daylight hours during the year. They can also penetrate glass and clouds. UVA rays make up 95 percent of the UV radiation that reaches the our planet’s surface. Although these rays are less intense compared to UVB, UVA rays are 30 to 50 times more prevalent.

UVA penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB and are considered to play a major role in skin aging and photoaging. Until recently, most scientists were under the belief that UVA rays did not cause significant damage in areas of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin.). However, over the years studies have shown that UVA rays damage skin cells in the basal layer of the epidermis, where most skin cancers occur. As a result, UVA exposure can contribute to and may even initiate the occurrence of skin cancers.

Minimizing the Deleterious Effects of UVA & UVB Rays

For active lifestyles, avoiding sun exposure in its entirety is not always an option. However, you can minimize the deleterious effects of UVA and UVB by following these guidelines:

  • Seek shade whenever possible, especially between the peak hours of the sun (10 AM and 4 PM.)
  • Do not let your skin burn. When the skin turns pink, take this as a sign that your skin is starting to burn.
  • Avoid artificial tanning, such as UV tanning booths.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a brimmed hat and polarized sunglasses.
  • Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least a SPF of 15 before going outdoors. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher (such as SolRx’ Zinc Sunscreen Stick for Face.)
  • Keep newborns and young children out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
  • Take time every month to examine your skin from head-to-toe.

At SolRx, the best line of defense against both UVA and UVB rays is a broad spectrum sunscreen. We’ve formulated many different products that provide this protection under some of the most extreme conditions, including 8 hours of water immersion and high-altitude, snowy conditions. See what’s in store and shop SolRx sunscreens to ensure you’re protected against both UVA and UVB.

 

Image by Hazar Shok

9 Lake Sports to Spice-Up the Warm Season

You may not have an ocean close to you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy recreational water activities! Lake living can be just as fun, with fewer unpredictable waves, less salt water, and warmer temperatures. Activities can be safer, as well, with fewer variables and calmer winds. If you’re lucky enough to have access to a lake, here are some fun lake sports (other than swimming!) that you can enjoy with just a little bit of extra equipment.

lake sports sunscreenKayaking – These small and inexpensive canoes have light frames and an opening that allows you to sit on the bottom of the boat; you can even buy inflatable ones. Simply push them into the water, grab a paddle, and go as fast or slow as you want.

Canoeing – Lightweight, narrow, and open boats can often hold more than one person, as well as supplies. These stable and roomy boats are paddle-operated, so you’ll be rowing. Canoes are great for family leisure time and exploration.

Paddle boating – Paddle boats and pedal boats are very popular on closed systems like lakes. They have no motors, and usually require two people to power the boat by pedaling with their feet. Paddle boats are a relaxing, family-friendly option for lake fun.

Tubing – Basically, when tubing you’re riding on an inner tube in the water. They can be towed by boats for a faster, more thrilling ride, or you can use them for free-floating tubing, to let yourself go with the water’s flow. You use webbed gloves to steer.

Paddleboarding – You can lie down, settle on your knees, or stand on a paddleboard or surfboard. You’ll just use your arms to move, or, if you’re standing, a paddle. It’s a great full-body workout, offering unique views.

Water-skiing – This sport consists of people skimming the water on skis as they’re pulled by a boat. Because it requires a smooth stretch of water, it’s ideal for lakes. Good water-skiers can do tricks; balance and strength is required.

Wakeboarding – Ride a wakeboard over the surface of the water while being towed by a motorboat! This sport is a combination of water skiing, snowboarding, and surfing, and isn’t hard to learn – although doing tricks might take a bit more time. windsurfing

Windsurfing – On a lake, this mixture of surfing and sailing can feel less daunting than in an ocean because the nearby land provides security. Waves and wind aren’t as unpredictable or wild, either. This is a dynamic sport that’s not hard to learn, and offers great exercise.

Fishing – Once you’re done exhausting yourself, you can enjoy a calmer activity. Fishing in a lake requires nothing but a fishing rod and the right bait. Remember, in lakes fish tend to hang out in cooler water, near sunken structures – and once you find your sweet spot, there’s no going back!

Many lakes will offer rental equipment, so you can try out one or more of these exciting activities with little or no commitment. You’ll be able to find one that suits your ability and interests, no matter what they are. Just remember, the sun can also be strong on lake waters, so protect yourself with sunglasses, hats, cover ups, and a good sport sunscreen, like the highly-rated SolRx SPF 50 with WATERBLOCK technology.

 

Image credit: Martin Monroe & Will G

Endless Summer: Some Hot Spots That Are Still Hot

Most of the country is no longer experiencing the heat of summer, but there are places within this country that are still warm, breezy, and beautiful. If you’re missing the sun and need to channel some warm weather, try these vacation spots – there’s one close to you!

endless summer

Key West, Florida – The sunsets from Key West are second to none, and the laid-back lifestyle will draw you in. Even the drive from Miami is relaxing. Because of the coral reefs certain watersports aren’t available – but restful yet stimulating beach fun is always de rigueur.

Topsail Beach, North Carolina – This area offers a friendly and family-oriented style of beach living, complete with surfing, boating, fishing, and sunset cruising. Recreation in the form of shops and restaurants, a skating rink, and other small-town amusements abound.

San Diego, California – From beach resorts to SeaWorld and Legoland and an incredible zoo, San Diego is always a hot destination. Enjoy amazing vistas, culture, hiking spots, and more along the Pacific coast. For family fun and sun, this is the place!

San Francisco, California – If you enjoy more urban environments, northern California might be your cup of tea. There are plenty of natural wonders here too. Go hiking nearby in Big Sur or Muir Woods, then enjoy some excellent meals and ocean views.

Savannah, Georgia – Steeped in history, Savannah is a beautiful and atmospheric town on the Atlantic, full of southern-style hospitality, cultural touchpoints, and maybe a ghost or two. Tybee Island nearby is a gorgeous spot for visiting the beach.

Florida KeysHawaii – Pretty much the whole state of Hawaii, consisting of eight main islands, is worth seeing for its natural beauty and sun-drenched beaches. Hike along a volcano on the Big Island, revel in the thriving nightlife of Honolulu, or visit the quieter beaches of Kauai.

South Padre Island, Texas – A popular spring break spot, South Padre Island is an active community where you can enjoy watersports, fishing, spas, and bars and nightclubs. Mild weather and calm waters can be enjoyed all year.

New Orleans, Louisiana – It’s not just for Mardi Gras – New Orleans is a city that embraces its French heritage and its unique southern mystique simultaneously. You can visit a swamp, immerse yourself in the rich history of the region, and enjoy the culture.

Phoenix, Arizona – Arizona has the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, but for a bit of civilization, Phoenix is perfect. With bustling downtown areas, great shopping and golfing, and spring training, it’s a great place to enjoy the warmth anytime of year!

Las Vegas, Nevada – It’s always easy to find your way to Vegas, where blockbuster live shows, great dining, and monumentally scaled casinos appeal to a diverse international audience. Not far way, you can get away from the glitz and glam with Nevada’s natural beauty.

We know you haven’t explored all the places you want to go yet, so why not escape the coming cold seasons (brr) and find a new place to go? Our country boasts such a variety of summery destinations, you’re sure to find one that has everything you want. While you’re out exploring your destination of choice, don’t forget to lather up with sunscreen by SolRx!

 

Image credit: Carlos Molina

Fall Sports – Make Sure to Wear Sunscreen While Watching or Playing

Most people remember to use sunscreen in the summer – when you’re going to be spending hours in the hot sun watching baseball games or soccer, or biking, running, or participating in different physical activities, it’s easy. Once fall comes around, you may be less vigilant about keeping your sunblock container nearby. But just because the sunniest season of the year is over, it doesn’t mean you can stop wearing sunscreen to protect your skin.

Fall Sports - Make Sure to Wear Sunscreen

Photo Credit: Torsten Bolten

Weather Changes

It’s true that once the seasons turn, you’ll experience cloudier days and lower temperatures that won’t tempt you to be outside quite so often. But the truth is, the ultraviolet rays that can cause skin cancer are unaffected by year-round weather changes, and remain present and potent on cloudy days. In addition, there are conditions that takes place in the fall that may actually lead to an increase in your chances of getting a burn. For example, nice and snow are reflective and can bounce UV rays back at you.

Sporting Events

Fall sports such as football, baseball, soccer, tennis, field hockey, volleyball, and cross-country require you to be outdoors, sometimes for lengthy periods of time, whether you’re watching or playing. And there’s no guarantee that you’ll have shade to shield you from the damaging rays of the sun. You may have to dress warmly for some of these games, but the sun is no less dangerous. Other sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, can offer additional concern because the sun rays may be damaging at higher altitudes – and snow and ice are often a factor there.

The Importance of Sun Safety

The UV rays that may damage your skin cells are UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are the ones that lead to sunburn; you may not feel any of the symptoms of UVA exposure until your skin starts to show wrinkles and dark spots. You need to protect from both types of UV rays with a water-resistant, broad spectrum sunblock because your lifetime exposure to the sun determines whether you’re at risk for skin cancer, so reduce your exposure as much as possible. Avoid sunburns, because that increases your risk immensely. Stay in the shade and cover up if that’s possible.

The bottom line is, you must protect yourself from the sun not just in the summer, but all year round. You’ll still see quite a bit of sun in the fall, and you may still be out and about for long periods if you’re playing or watching sports. Be smart and keep that sunblock, such as SolRx SPF 44 Dry Zinc Sunscreen, on hand, even if it looks dreary out there.

Back to School – Is Sunblock on Your Kid’s School Supply List?

Is Sunblock on Your Kid’s School Supply List?

Photo Credit: Leon Weber

Believe it or not, summer’s almost over. This means it’s time to buy fall clothes and shop for items on your school supply list – pencils, tissues, markers, glue. Is sunblock included? 

Well, it might not be. These days, many school lists are geared to the general student population, as kids often share their supplies with one another, and sunblock is usually a more personal choice. In addition, it’s not really a direct educational aid. But it’s still something you should send to school with your students, and make sure they have on hand.

The Importance of Sunblock

You certainly understand why you have sunblock on hand throughout June, July, and August. The sun is strong, and your kids are hopefully spending a lot of time outdoors. They need protection from those UVA and UVB rays, the ones that create sunburn and age skin prematurely, making them at risk for skin cancer later in life. It’s hot, so they may sweat, which means a water-resistant formula would be best to protect their more sensitive skin. Remember that any amount of tanning on your child’s skin can represent cellular skin damage, so protecting them from the sun is key.

School Days

It’s easy to forget that your kids will be outside and exposed to the weather on school days. After all, you don’t see them, and you have other things on your mind – work, taking care of other children, home projects, classes. But they will have recess, and they may eat lunch outside (depending on your climate and school’s situation), and the walk or bike to and from school may also take them along sunlit sidewalks and open areas with little shade. They may spend time outside during gym classes, waiting for the bus, and on field days as well. The SolRx SPF 35 Sunscreen comes in a 1.5oz bottle with a carabiner handle for easy access.

Unseen Dangers

Putting sunblock on can be a hassle, especially when it comes to squirming children. But it’s important, if your kids will be outside, to make sure they are always wearing sunscreen, and try to encourage them to reapply during the day (we know this is hard!). Even in winter, and on cloudy days, the sun can be dangerous. The sun’s rays can sometimes penetrate through clouds quite well, depending on their type, thickness, and deepness through the atmosphere, and the UV effect can be even stronger on the earth’s surface as a result. In the winter, UV rays reflect off snow and ice and bounce right back onto skin, so the sun can affect your children more than you realize all year round – no matter what the weather conditions.

We can’t control every moment of our children’s days once they enter school, but we can give them the tools to help themselves. That’s really what education is all about, right? Although your school supply list might not include sunblock, you should slip a container into your kids’ backpacks and make sure they’re truly ready for school this fall – in all the important ways.

The 5 Best Beaches in the U.S.

The truth is, U.S. beaches are pretty fantastic. We have lake beaches along the Great Lakes that enhance life in midwestern states, and we have coastlines on the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans that are gorgeous year round. Beaches in Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, California, Hawaii, and Florida are among the best in the country. But these five are truly some of the best beaches in the U.S. and worth a visit no matter where you’re from.sport sunscreen waterproof beach

Lanakai Beach in Kailua, Hawaii, is a serene half-mile strip of public beach known for its gentle winds, clear turquoise green waters, and fine white sand. Its location on Oahu’s windward coast and a stunning view of the Mokulua Islands makes it a popular hangout for tourists and locals alike. There are so many beautiful beaches in Hawaii, yet this one stands out. There isn’t much shade in certain areas, so be sure to have your sunscreen on hand.

Bahia Honda State Park, located at mile marker 37 along Highway 1 in the Florida Keys, is a quiet and family-friendly spot, with three beaches, nature trails, and high-quality snorkeling and beachcombing. The Old Bahia Honda Bridge is a great place for watching sunsets, in one of the southernmost points in the country. Wading birds and other wildlife are abundant here. The very air itself will calm and relax you.

Race Point Beach, a Cape Cod National Seashore beach in Provincetown, Massachusetts, is known for the kind of picturesque and expansive views you expect from unspoiled Atlantic coastline. The water can be chilly, but seal and whale sightings (in season) might make up for that. This is a no-frills beach with minimal concessions – it’s just you, the sun, the sky, and the sea.

La Jolla, California, near San Diego, is actually a collection of breathtaking beaches in dramatic settings. Secluded coves, jagged cliffs, and beautiful sand abound at locations like Windandsea Beach. Expect magnificent waves, sugary sand, infinite blue seas, rocky landscapes, and beautiful light. The beaches of La Jolla can be tucked away, but the people are friendly and the geography is ever-changing.

Cannon Beach, a city in Oregon along the Pacific coast, offers views of the ocean, forested mountains to the east, and a marine garden at Haystack Rock full of sea life and birds like puffins and cormorants. A wide, clean expanse of sand allows for many family-friendly activities, and the water is cool and clear. This is a site that has been described as otherworldly and inspirational; it’s where the ‘80s film “The Goonies” was filmed.

The truth is, we haven’t even begun to delve into the amazing number of awesome beaches across this country. South Padre Island, Hilton Head, Martha’s Vineyard, South Beach, Ft. Lauderdale,– we have such a diversity of great ones, it’s hard to choose favorites. But there’s one thing we know for sure: the sun is strong along these sandy locales. Don’t forget a broad-spectrum sunscreen with water resistance, like SolRx SPF 50 with WATERBLOCK technology. You do not want to mar your beautiful beach experience with painful burns, no matter where you are.