There's really nothing quite like hitting the trails on a beautiful day. Whether you're hiking with friends or mountain bike riding outdoors, the fresh air, breathtaking views, and sense of adventure are unparalleled.
While soaking up the sun outside is a big bonus for many, it's also essential to remember to stay safe from the sun's UV rays. Sun safety is not just about preventing sunburns, but also about protecting your skin from sun damage long-term to avoid skin cancer.
In this blog post, we go over 3 beneficial tips on how to stay protected from the sun while out on the trails.
1. Plan Your Hike/Ride Around the Time of Day
Timing your hike or bike ride can make a big difference in staying sun safe. Avoid the peak hours of sun exposure, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Plan your hikes or rides for early mornings or late afternoons when the sun's intensity is lower. This not only reduces your risk of sunburn but can make your hike/ride more enjoyable in cooler temperatures.
Since the sun sets earlier during fall/winter, we recommend hiking or mountain bike riding earlier in the morning. Bonus points if you get to see sunrise! And remember that even if it's cloudy outside you can still get sunburned!
2. Choose the Right Sun-Protective Apparel
When it comes to sun safety, the clothing you wear plays a significant role. Opt for lightweight, breathable, and long-sleeved shirts and pants that cover as much skin as possible.
Look for clothing with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) ratings, which offer excellent sun protection. Wide-brimmed hats are also essential to protect your face, neck, and ears from the sun. Don't forget to wear sunglasses to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays as well as sun sleeves and sunscreen.
3. Pay Attention to Altitude/Latitude
If you're hiking/cycling at higher altitudes, be aware that you are closer to the sun and more susceptible to its UV rays. UV radiation increases about 4% for every 1,000-foot gain in elevation. So, even if it's a cooler climate at high altitudes, the sun's intensity can still be damaging.
UV levels are also higher closer to the equator, so be mindful of latitude too!
Additional Sun Safe Tips for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Here are some additional tips on how to stay sun safe while out on the trails:
- Use broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen on all areas of your skin exposed to the sun (don't forget the tops of your ears and neck!).
- Seek out shade whenever possible to reduce your exposure to the sun and give your body some time to cool down.
- Hydrate and drink plenty of water before, during, and after your time spent outdoors. Pack more water than you think you need just in case!
- Be mindful of reflective surfaces like snow and water which can reflect the sun's rays, intensifying UV exposure.
- Watch out for early signs of sunburns, including redness, warm skin, and tenderness.
- Wear wide-brim sun hats to protect your face, neck, and ears.
Hiking and cycling are both great ways to connect with nature and get some exercise in, but it's crucial to prioritize sun safety while outside.
By wearing the right sun-protective clothing, using broad-spectrum sunscreen, planning your hike/ride wisely, and staying hydrated, you can protect your skin and fully enjoy your outdoor adventures without worrying about the harmful effects of the sun.
Remember, staying safe in the sun doesn't mean staying indoors; it means being responsible and proactive in your approach to your favorite outdoor activities.