Health & wellbeing

6 tips to protect yourself when active in the sun

Kids playing with ball in sunset

It’s June, which means we are finally experiencing some warm weather in the UK. What could be a better way than to enjoy a beautiful sunny day by playing your favourite sport or physical activity outside?

Spending more time in the summer sun isn't just fun, it helps us get Vitamin D which regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. However, the intensity of the heat can put a strain on your body when performing physical activity and could lead to dehydration and heatstroke, as well as making you feel much more tired than normal.

We’ve put together some advice so you can enjoy playing sport and activity in the summer sun, read on for the tips:

Drink more water

Everyone sweats in the heat, but you will lose more water by performing activities in hot weather. Ensure that you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during and after your sport or activity session. Being dehydrated is not fun and will cause you to feel tired, dizzy and have a headache. 

Take regular breaks

Exercising in hot weather requires you to listen to your body and allow yourself to take a break if you need to.  Don’t continue playing or exhausting yourself if you feel unwell or like you need to take a break just because other people are playing. 

Protect yourself from the sun

If you exercise outside make sure you protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat and a high factor sun cream with SPF such as 50 or 30. This will defend your skin from harsh UV rays and help to prevent it from burning, while the hat will help you reduce the risk of getting sun stroke. 

Choose the best time of day

The sun is stronger between 12-3 pm everyday so if you can choose when you play your sport it’s best to avoid these times. If you can’t avoid the midday football session, then make sure you protect yourself adequately with an SPF sun cream and a hat. The coolest time is usually in the morning, so if you struggle to exercise in the heat then an early morning session might be the key to fitting in activity on hot days. Look at the weather forecast and plan your sessions for the next few weeks. 

Replenish electrolytes 

Electrolytes are made of essential minerals sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, phosphate and sulphate. During intense exercise, sodium and potassium are sweated out the most. The best way to replace electrolytes is by eating nutrient rich foods. Instead of reaching for a sports drink that claims to boost electrolytes, try eating fruit and veggies like banana, kale, avocado and coconut. 

Keep young children cool

Toddlers and young children are more vulnerable to the sun’s rays and must be protected from with a high SPF sun cream, a wide brimmed hat to cover their faces and sunglasses that are approved by the British Standard and have a CE label on to protect their eyes. Make sure they have access to plenty of water while playing sport and take regular breaks in the shade or inside. 

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