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Summer is the perfect time to lace up your running shoes and start running. To stay cool and protected from UV damage, you'll need a few other items whenever you want to increase your outdoor mileage.
Sunscreen: Whether it's cloudy or sunny, you should wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on exposed skin. Remember to reapply every hour, especially if you're sweating. Tip: Keep a small tube or stick in your running belt for easy access!
Hat or visor: Headwear allows the sun to cover your face, neck, and ears. Choose a light, light color. If you're not wearing sunglasses, or don't like to run in glasses, a hat can also protect your eyes.
Long sleeves: A light, long-sleeved shirt will protect your arms and neck from harmful rays. Keep a spare in your gym bag or car and wear it on particularly sunny days. Tip: When temperatures rise, find a new route mostly in the shade, or decide to go for a run after the sun goes down.
Protecting your skin while running is very important, as daily exposure to the sun can increase your risk of skin cancer. Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is usually caused by ultraviolet radiation and develops in areas exposed to sunlight. We spoke with Caitlin Zbikowski, chair of the board of directors of Melanoma Interrupt, an organization that provides educational resources and fundraising events to raise awareness about melanoma prevention and testing.
Here's what she said:
"No matter what time it is or where you are, we must always be aware of the sun. It sounds extreme, but it's a reality now. Melanoma is no laughing matter. Sometimes looking to the sun means looking inward. The dangers of skin cancer are constantly advertised, but do we take them seriously every day, week, month, year? To protect all members of our community from melanoma, we also need to be Allies in understanding skincare and active devices that are currently available and truly effective. Knowledge is power and knowledge can save lives."
"In addition to wearing sunscreen, make sure that wherever you go, you're in a place that provides plenty of shade for you and your loved ones. Reducing exposure to sunlight is crucial. Please don't find comfort in feeling sunburned and tanned -- you're putting yourself at risk. A tan is not hot. If you notice these things, you will influence others in the same way. Of course, nothing will change your life more than going to your community six months or every year for an appointment with a reliable dermatologist."
Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, natural or artificial, increases the risk of developing melanoma. This is the truest fact. This is life. No one is safe and invincible against the sun. Pay attention to the available research and the stories of people who have been diagnosed. These steps are to prevent melanoma from invading your skin and your family, but you must take your skin seriously. Always make sure that you are looking for moles and that someone is looking for your moles. You can protect yourself this summer by covering your whole body, applying sunscreen, and running in the shade.