This is the season many of us move everything from our meals to our workouts outside. There’s nothing like a run along the sand or a game of beach volleyball to mix up your fitness routine! That means it’s also time to step up your efforts to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun, especially skin cancer.
Here are a few sobering facts to remember courtesy of the Skin Cancer Foundation:
- Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S.
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
- Melanoma is the most common cancer in women ages 25-29.
- One person dies of melanoma every 62 minutes.
The good news is protecting yourself from skin cancer doesn’t have to be difficult. Wearing sunscreen is one of the best preventive measures you can take. However, applying it just once if you’re going to be outside for several hours isn’t enough. If you’re active in the sun, even sweat-proof sunscreens need to be re-applied. I admit many of the heavily promoted long-wearing sunscreens can be sticky and streaky, so if you have one that works for you when you’re breaking a sweat, I’d love to hear about it!
For those of us with sensitive skin, finding a sunscreen for the face can be an even bigger problem. I’m one of the 16 million Americans who suffer from Rosacea, a chronic inflammatory skin condition with symptoms including redness, bumps and even small visible blood vessels on the face. Unfortunately, my condition is partly the result of all the sun-worshipping I did in my teens and 20s. Now I have to be extra careful when I’m enjoying time at the beach as sun exposure is one of the triggers that can cause a flare up. Add an irritating sunscreen to the mix, and my skin can really be out of whack after just an hour or two in the sun.
I think I may have finally found a sunscreen that will protect my face from the sun and not aggravate my Rosacea. It’s called Athelios from LaRoche-Posay. I found it at my local Duane Reade drug store. It’s actually a super lightweight fluid that comes in SPF 45 and 60. Along with my Clinique SPF 30 stick for my delicate eye area and lips, I hope I’m all set for the summer!
Along with wearing sunscreen, if you have moles, it’s important to keep an eye on them. I can’t count the number of moles I have on my body but I can tell you I’ve had at least a half-dozen suspicious-looking moles removed in the past 10 years. I visit my dermatologist annually to make sure none of my moles, especially the ones that have irregular borders and different shades of color. In fact, I had my 2012 visit about three weeks ago and got the all clear til next year. Click here for more on the ABC’s (and Ds and Es) of when it’s time to get a mole checked by a dermatologist.
So if you’re busy replenishing your summer stock of moisture-wicking shirts and shorts, don’t forget to replenish your sunscreen supplies, too. Staying sun smart is a surefire way to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
I hope everyone’s ready to enjoy some R & R during the Memorial Day weekend. It’s so important we all remember the true meaning of this holiday. It’s a day dedicated to honoring all the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Memorial Day weekend also marks the unofficial kick off to the summer! If Mother Nature smiles down on your plans to enjoy some time in the backyard, at the beach or nearby park, keep this in mind: now’s the perfect time to kick-start a whole new season of fitness fun!
Wherever you’re going, when you pack up the sunscreen, sunglasses and snacks, why not toss a football, frisbee or paddle-ball game into your bag or the trunk of the car? Adding some activity to your holiday get-together is a great way to keep some of the beer and BBQ calories in check. It’s also a great reminder that you don’t need a gym for a great workout.
If you’re really inspired, there are plenty of exercises you can perform on a sandy or grassy surface. Some examples include burpees, squats, push-ups and planks. Of course, if you have any knee, ankle, hip or back issues, I’d highly recommend wearing your sneakers when attempting to bang out some reps on an unstable surface.
Whatever you do and wherever you do it, here are some timely tips for the holiday weekend that will take you through the entire season:
- Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids, preferably water.
- Apply and re-apply plenty of waterproof, sweat-proof sunscreen. Sore muscles from a game of beach volleyball can be rewarding, but a sunburn never feels good!
- Finally – don’t forget to stretch! After giving those arms and legs a good workout, static or active-isolated stretches can help the body recover. Remember: static stretches need to be held for a minimum of 30 seconds.
Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Memorial Day and an entire weekend filled with plenty of opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
This is one of my favorite days of the year. It’s the day my beloved New York Yankees play their home opener in the Bronx.
This day makes me feel like spring has officially sprung. That means it’s the perfect time for me to encourage anyone looking to be more active to use the season to your advantage. No more excuses – Mother Nature is giving you the ideal backdrop to get out and get moving!
I know I’m a gym rat. I also know there are people who just don’t like to go to the gym. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get some exercise and feel great!
We’re supposed to enjoy near 70-degree temps here in New York over the weekend. So, there’s no excuse not do any or all of the following:
- Take a hike: I mean that in the nicest way possible.
- Take a walk: You can do double-duty and make up for some overdue catch-up time with a friend by taking him or her along for a brisk jaunt around your neighborhood.
- Hit the park: You don’t need a gym to do squats, lunges or even burpees. Use a bench for box jumps. Heck, go climb a tree!
- Hit the beach: If you’re a beach bunny like me, it’s never too early to get near the water! Wear or bring an extra layer of clothing to keep the spring-breezes at bay and hit the boardwalk. For an extra challenge on an uneven surface, take your feet to the sand.
- Hit the playground: Be a kid again! Swing on the monkey bars or use them for pull-ups.
- Play some pick-up: Get active and make new friends by shooting some hoops.
- Try a new racquet: Do you have a tennis racquet collecting dust in a closet? Dust it off and hit the court.
- Turn fantasy into reality: Forget make-believe baseball – get some friends and get on the field!
Wherever you live and whatever your pleasure, I hope Mother Nature smiles on you this weekend so you can find some new opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
The pre-Halloween snow storm was an unexpected and not-so-pleasant surprise for most of here in the Northeast. Luckily, I dug out the gloves and ear warmers in time for Old Man Winter’s early visit. Now that these warm, woolly items are sitting in an easy-to-reach spot in my closet, I thought it was the perfect time for some important reminders on how to safely stick with your outdoor exercise routine as we head into a cold finish for 2011:
- Dress In Layers: Start with a thin layer of synthetic material (e.g. Under Armour or Nike DriFIT clothing) closest to the skin. Avoid wearing cotton as it takes longer to dry and the wet feel can give you a chill. Add a layer of fleece or wool and last but not least, finish off your outfit with a waterproof outer-layer.
- Protect Your Hands, Feet & Ears: My hands and feet are cold even on the hottest days of the year, so they’re especially vulnerable to wind chills and icy temperatures. So, in colder weather, I’ll often wear a thin pair of gloves under a pair of heavier ones, or even a pair of mittens. I know some people who have a “winter” pair of running or walking shoes that are up to one size bigger so they can wear thicker thermal socks or two pairs of regular ones. Finally, I’m a big fan of the wrap-around ear warmers or fleece headbands to keep the biting wind from wreaking havoc on my ears.
- Don’t Forget the Sunscreen: If you’ve ever gotten a nasty sunburn from skiing, you know the sun is just as strong in the cold-weather months as it is in the summertime. Remember to put on the SPF 30 before heading outdoors and don’t forget the the SPF-infused lip balm, too.
- Stay Hydrated: We hear lots of warnings about becoming dehydrated in the heat, but you can become dehydrated just as easily in the cold. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your workout. (Here’s a refresher on why water is so important.)
- Special Populations: While most people can exercise safely in the cold weather, if you have a heart condition or suffer from asthma, be sure to check with your physician before starting a cold-weather exercise routine.
The good news is you don’t have to pack away your motivation to exercise with the bathing suit and beach towels. Using a little common sense and having the right gear will allow you to continue your love affair with the great outdoors through November and beyond so you can have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!