Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors, especially in Michigan, where the state’s scenic parks, beaches and attractions draw the masses out of their houses and into the sun. But summertime is also when we’re most vulnerable to the sun’s rays, making prolonged exposure dangerous. Enjoy the summer weather and stay safe in the sun with these tips:
Apply sunscreen correctly: When it comes to preventing sunburn, sunscreen is often the first, and most frequently, discussed solution. But using it incorrectly by forgetting to reapply, not covering all of your exposed skin, or using the wrong SPF can still leave you burnt. For maximum protection, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone over the age of six months use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant SPF 30 sunscreen.
Mind the time: Before you hit the beach or trail, keep in mind the sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you’re planning any outdoor activities during this time, be prepared with a hat, sunglasses and lots of sunscreen.
Consider alternative attractions: On those near 100 degree days, don’t push the envelope on outdoor activities. Instead, choose an activity in the morning or evening to prevent harmful sun exposure and dehydration. During midday, consider venturing to public locations with reliable air conditioning, including libraries, movie theaters and museums.
Exercise caution: Warm weather can make your daily jog more enjoyable, but do take precaution. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests active individuals consume 16 to 20 ounces of water, one to two hours before outdoor activity. Additionally, by gradually increasing the duration of your outdoor exercise, your body will also be able to better acclimate to the summer heat. As a safe alternative, take your workout inside to an air-conditioned space or gym, such as one of these fitness centers where you can save on memberships and services through the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network member discount program, Blue365®.
Whatever the summer activity – barbecues, festivals or boating – enjoy your day out in the sun responsibly. Your body will thank you.
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