Sun protection for outdoor sports

You probably want to refrain from having a bad sunburn or even a sunstroke as the last memory of your adventure. Certain parts of the body are particularly exposed to the sun during outdoor sports – and these have to be protected. In this article, you will learn how to move safely in the sun and how to react if you have overdone it.

The effects of sun on the human body

Sun is vital for us humans. Our skin can produce vitamin D from the sun rays, which is elementary for building our bones. Also, heat and light have a demonstrably positive effect on our organism and our well-being.
Moderate sunbathing is good for body and soul.
Moderate sunbathing is good for body and soul.
Fotografie: Andrii Podilnyk, CC0,

We depend on the sun – but at the same time, we shouldn't underestimate its power.

Excessive UV radiation causes burns, which can increase the risk of skin cancer.

If the heat radiation irritates our meninges too much, we get a sunstroke, which is usually accompanied by severe headaches and neck pain, nausea and dizziness.

As with everything in life, a healthy level is, therefore, crucial – and this is particularly important during long outdoor activities.

Where the sun affects our body most

Whether walking upright, riding a bike or kayaking, in almost all outdoor sports, some parts of the body are more exposed to the sun than others. These need special protection.

From top to bottom: The forehead, bridge of the nose and chin offer a good starting point for sunburn. At particular risk are also shoulders, neck and chest area, the back of the hands, knees, calves and the bridge of the feet.

Several areas of the body are particularly exposed to the sun.
Several areas of the body are particularly exposed to the sun.
Fotografie: Tembela Bohle, CC0,

Slip, slop, slap

– in Australia, every child knows this slogan. It is vital because Australia is considered the country with the highest skin cancer rate worldwide. But the slogan helps in not only the sunny south but also northern latitudes. "Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat" – these are the basic rules of sun protection.
Hat and sunglasses protect against the sun.
Hat and sunglasses protect against the sun.
Fotografie: CC0,

Even when it is hot, you should wear clothing that protects your most sensitive skin areas.

Sunscreen is obligatory on all uncovered areas too. The headgear not only protects against sunburn on the face but also against the dreaded sunstroke.

Sunglasses, to protect the eyes, are also a must. They must absorb UV-A and UV-B radiation and be large enough to cover the eyes completely.

The right protection for your skin type

Every skin type needs different protection.
Every skin type needs different protection.
Fotografie:, CC0,

How strong your sun protection needs to be, depends on your skin type.

People with light-colored and sensitive skin should not stay unprotected in the sun for longer than 10 minutes. For outdoor sports, we recommend airy but long-sleeved clothing, a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor and a broad-brimmed hat.

The darker the skin type, the higher the body's protection factor. However, you should still not leave the house without sunscreen and a hat.

Fast help case of emergency

If your skin begins to redden despite protective measures or you notice the first signs of sunstroke, you should immediately switch to the shade and avoid the sun on the following days.

Cooling pads for the forehead, neck and affected skin areas provide relief. In the case of minor burns of the skin, cooling works best with water and cold yogurt wraps have also proved useful. It would be best if you also drank a lot.

The use of ice can be critical – you don't want to inflict frostbite on your stressed skin.

If the sunburn is already well advanced or if you feel symptoms that go beyond light headaches and discomfort, you should immediately consult a doctor.

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