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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

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.

Prep Tips for Tough Mudders

If you’re getting ready for a Tough Mudder, you might have a reputation for recklessness. But that doesn’t mean you’re careless. You’ve trained for the 10-12 miles, and you’ve worked on both improving your upper body strength and increasing your overall fitness levels.

But what about the other stuff? Prepare to get down and dirty with these gear tips to help you endure long distances, impossible obstacles, and mental and physical challenges.

tough mudders solrx sports sunscreen

Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

1. Choose your shoes carefully. The best shoes for this type of race are minimalist running shoes. These provide good grip and less padding and won’t absorb as much water. If you can’t get minimalist shoes, wear an old pair of running kicks that can be tightly laced so they don’t get sucked off into the mud. It happens! Don’t be surprised to see people duct taping their shoes to their legs to prevent this.

2. Wear lightweight clothes of synthetic material – if you’re not wearing a costume, that is!
Be minimalist with your wardrobe, too. Your clothes are just going to slow you down. They’ll get wet and muddy and heavy, so choose items that dry quickly and are breathable. Avoid cotton. Sturdy compression running shorts, shirts, and socks are recommended to keep your body dry and cool, and they may help you recover. However, you may also wish to minimize tight clothing, because mud will get stuck…everywhere. Avoid open pockets. And have a change of clothes ready for you at the finish line.

3. Don’t forget the sunblock. Yes, even covered with water and mud you can get sunburned. Remember, you’ll be outside for three hours or more. You need a broad-spectrum option that can provide long-lasting protection from both types of damaging ultraviolet rays. You’ll want a tried and tested brand like SolRx, which offers water resistance to such a degree that your grip isn’t affected and your sunscreen won’t sweat or run off into your eyes and irritate them. That’s a huge advantage.

4. Consider a headband and gloves, and leave the jewelry at home. Even if you manage to keep your jewelry on, subjecting it to mud and cold and water isn’t going to make it look more attractive. Gloves can help you with grip, but can also get wet and muddy and heavy, so you’ll have to decide if you wish to use them. Headbands are important for keeping long hair out of your face.

5. Hydration and energy levels are key. This is more like a marathon, not a sprint, and you’re going to need energy. Make sure your snack choices are easy to carry and access, such as small packets of energy gels. Don’t get dehydrated; most veterans recommend bringing wearable hydration packs, even if they’re bulky, and not counting on course water stations. Carrying fuel belts or handheld bottles can be problematic as you work your way through obstacles.

Now you’re ready. And don’t forget – Tough Mudders aren’t just about winning or whining. They’re about helping others and fostering camaraderie. So don’t forget to help others along the way, and have fun!