The approaching spring season will move many of us towards outdoor activities. However, after spending most of the winter months indoors, there are considerations to assist with acclimatization to the changing season.
Sun exposure may be increased as walking, gardening and other outdoor hobbies increase with the warm weather. The National Institutes of Health suggests that while some sun exposure is good, certain steps should be taken to protect skin:
- Limit sun exposure. Be more cautious between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Be aware of the increased sensitivity and intensity of the sun when on the water.
- Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Choose those with“broad spectrum” coverage and apply 15 -20 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or more frequently if sweating or wiping skin with towels, etc.
- Wear protective clothing, such as wide brim hats, sunglasses, and loose, lightweight clothing, including long sleeved shirts and pants.
Temperatures have the potential to go from cold to hot and back again in the spring time. Layering of clothing can help provide comfort.
- First Layer (base layer): Wicks moisture away from the body to outer layers. The best materials are synthetics such as polypropheline, polyester, or Marino wool.
- Second layer (mid layer): Provides insulation, while also transporting moisture away from the skin. Synthetics, fleece, and wool are good choices for this layer.
- Third layer (outer layer): Protects from elements such as wind and rain. Choose garments that cover the head, hands, and feet, as well as the body.
Extra time outside in warmer temperatures require the body to re-acclimate to avoid heat problems, especially as the first 80 or 90 degree day can be a shock to the body. One study showed that 10 – 14 days of training are needed to improve heat acclimatization. Certain individuals are more prone to heat effects than others. Those not yet acclimated to the warmer weather, those taking certain medications or supplements, who are dehydrated, recently ill, fatigued, wearing inappropriate clothing, with poor fitness levels, in harsher environmental conditions can all be at a higher risk of heat effects.
Overall, gradually introducing activity to induce acclimatization, wearing comfortable adaptable clothing, protecting skin, staying well hydrated and checking with your doctor if you have any medicine concerns, may make for a very enjoyable and productive spring season.
Enjoy staying active all during spring!!!