How To Protect Your Skin (And Your Sanity!) While Exercising Outdoors

As a fairly dark-skinned Latina, I brush off sun care more than I should. But just because I rarely get sunburned doesn’t mean I shouldn’t take steps to protect my skin and body from the brutal Houston sun — especially since I'm a long-distance runner. Here are my tips for braving the summer sun while exercising outdoors:

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1. Skin Care: Off Season

Make the summer your “off-season.” Did you have a big fall or spring event like a marathon? There’s no better time than summer to take a step back and lower the intensity of workouts while still exercising regularly. Even a walk during your lunch break counts for something. 

2. Skin Care: S

Three words: sunscreen, sunglasses and shade. Make an effort to protect your skin, and you’ll be more likely to get out there to exercise. Stocking up on spray sunscreen will make you less likely to skip it before heading out the door, and exercising in mostly shaded areas will make your workout more tolerable. 

3. Skin Care: Handheld

Invest in a quality handheld water bottle and stick it in the freezer. If you’ve ever slogged through a workout because you were so dehydrated, you know how miserable it can be. There’s nothing better than ice-cold water during a hot summer run, so make sure to freeze your handheld water bottle every night before a workout. It’ll melt down in 20 to 30 minutes. 

4. Skin Care: Shirtless

Run shirtless. I’m a very heavy sweater in Houston summers, and the last thing I need is a sweat-soaked shirt weighing me down for several miles. If you’re worried about getting judged for your abs, or lack thereof, trust me: no one cares. Passersby will either have made the same choice, or they'll wish they had your guts. 

5. Skin Care: Electrolytes

Don’t forget your electrolytes. Again, if you’re a heavy sweater like I am, take measures to decrease your chances of dehydration. Sports drinks tend to upset my stomach during a run or hard workout, so I drink them beforehand and switch to water during and after my workout. You might also consider taking electrolyte capsules (salt tablets, which you can find at athletic stores) before your workout.