4 Sun Essentials for Outdoor Activity

As we transition from Raincouver, chances are we’ll take advantage of the beautiful sunny days that lie ahead of us this spring and summer and opt for some physical activity outside. While it’s nice to bask in the sunny weather, it’s also important to be safe under the sun. Don’t forget these 4 essentials whether you’re rolling, hiking, or playing Spikeball outdoors!


1. Time your activity

It’s important to minimize our exposure to the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, since they can both lead to skin and eye cancers. If possible, try to avoid the sun’s peak hours and schedule your exercise before 10AM or after 4PM!

Sunrise at Day of the LongBoat


2. Cover up!

If you have to be in the sun during peak hours, gear up on sun-protective clothing. Your activewear is best if it includes:

  • Light colours
  • Long sleeves
  • Opaque material (i.e., not see-through)
  • Sunglasses that “provide at least 90% protection from UVA and 95% from UVB”
  • Hats that also cover your ears and neck
  • Sun-protective swimsuits

Also, be mindful of choosing clothes that can still keep your body temperature cool to avoid heat exhaustion!


Credit: Paul H. Joseph / UBC Brand & Marketing


3. (Re-)apply sunscreen and lip balm!

For the body areas that we can’t cover up, lather on the good ol’ sunscreen! Health Link BC recommends a sunscreen and lip balm with at least an SPF of 30 and that are classified as “broad spectrum”, so they screen against both UVA and UVB rays. Here are some guidelines for application:

  • Time of application is recommended 30 minutes before you step outside.
  • Reapplication is also key, especially after swimming and sweating.
  • Reapply lip balm hourly.

Remember, sunscreen isn’t only important for preventing sunburns but also skin cancers! Plus, sunscreen is also essential for even cloudy days, since UV rays can penetrate through clouds.


4. Stay hydrated

The standard, daily recommendation of water intake is 6-8 glasses (250mL) per day. However, this guideline may increase if you’re engaging in intense exercise within hot climates, since this is when we sweat more! Sports drinks that contain electrolytes, especially sodium, are also recommended for those exercising longer than an hour in warmer temperatures. If plain water isn’t your favourite taste, try adding citrus or ice, eating extra watermelon, or choosing carbonated water! The important thing is to listen to your body’s thirst signals and avoid dehydration.

Credit: Healthy Beverage Initiative / UBC Wellbeing

Stay moving, and stay safe under the sun, UBC!