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If humans were like food to the sun, the common people would be appetizers and athletes will definitely be the main course. A little sun exposure is potentially harmful; one can then imagine the impact of the sun on athletes; who spend the bulk of their days outdoor when the sun is at its peak. While we're still trying to advocate the use of sunscreen for the general public, attention needs to be shifted to the athletes who are more at risk, and here are the reasons why.
- More exposure at peak periods:
It has been observed that training and most outdoor sport activities tend to take place at the peak periods of the sun. This is between the hours of 10am and 4pm. The sun's intensity is at its greatest, more harmful UV radiations are reaching the earth surface, and you're just in for a good bake. UV rays are so penetrative to the extent that you’re not totally protected from your regular clothing, and chances are you’re most likely running in your sport bra and tights, sleeveless tops and shorts and other clothes that don’t offer full body protection.
- Sun burn and sun damage disorders:
The list of sun damage health consequences is not only frightening but next to endless. While sun burn is the kindest sinister gift you can get from the sun, other conditions such as melasma, rosacea and actinic keratosis, are just a few of the health consequences of prolonged sun exposure. Many of these skin problems are not reversible and some like actinic keratosis and actinic cheilitis are precursors to skin cancer. Thus you’ll be doing yourself a lot of good when you apply sunscreen.
- Sunscreen retains moisture:
The physical activity that takes place while training and competing is enough to make you lose fluids. Couple that with the dehydrating effect of the sun and you’ll always be in a constant battle of retaining moisture. What sunscreen does is that it acts as a moisturizer and keeps you hydrated.
- Sun burn interferes with recovery:
All things (eating good food, sleeping well and resting) being equal, the human body is designed to heal itself; a little cut sustained heals up within days and same is with muscle strains. Sun burn is a form of damage to the skin and needs healing and recovery. So while you ought to recover faster from your vigorous training or sport activity, your brain focuses on your skin (recovery from the sun burn) as well. So for faster recovery it’s very important to use sunscreen as the importance of healing and recovery to athletes cannot be overemphasized.
- Prolonged sun exposure causes cancer:
Ultraviolet rays emitted from the sun are harmful to the skin, not only does it cause premature aging and wrinkling, it also causes sun burn, and skin disorders which can potentially lead to skin cancer. Yes you might say skin heredity and other habits like smoking, play a role in the development of skin cancer, yet prolonged sun exposure has been found to be the primary course of skin cancer; to the amount of 90%. Skin cancer doesn't discriminate; it doesn't care whether you're African American, Native American, Latino or Asian. It affects both gender, all skin types, causes skin disfigurement and also leads to death.
- Sunscreen preserves your youth:
UV-A ray from the sun, is the most penetrative ultraviolet ray emitted from the sun. It gets to you while you're driving, while you're in your sun filled room or office, and even on overcast days, because it penetrates the clouds. Its harmful effects are premature aging, wrinkling and acceleration of fine lines. But fear not, there's an affordable product that will not only protect you from the harmful effects of UVA rays, but has also been proving to reduce aging by 24%. I present to you sunscreen!!
- No one is exempted:
Just in case you start feeling your career or that keeping fit is plagued with the curse of the sun, you should realize the sun is everywhere and affects us all. Even the spectators are at risk, and not to forget the winter sport athletes that might feel exempted from the use of sunscreen for their sport; still have to use sunscreen because snow reflects 80% of UV light, UVA rays are still present during the winter months, and UV radiation increases with higher altitudes. So we all need to use sunscreen all year round.