Working out in the summer months can be tough. The heat makes it almost unbearable to exercise indoors, while outdoors you need to worry about the risks of UV rays. So, are you at an increased risk of melanoma if you do exercise outdoors?
A recent study has revealed no link between exercising outdoors and melanoma. However, it all depends on one thing – keeping the skin protected!
Understanding the latest skin cancer study
The latest study was carried out by Norwegian researchers. It looked at 150,000 women aged from 30 to 75. They were involved in a large-scale cancer study, carried out over a period of 20 years. The goal of this latest research was to determine whether exercising in the sun increased the chances of developing skin cancer.
Previous studies have suggested it does due to the increased risk of sunburn. In this study however, it was discovered that there was no increased risk compared to those who exercised indoors. Compared to those who were not as active, women who exercised outdoors didn’t get as many sunburns.
The reason women don’t appear to get sunburn as much outdoors when they are exercising, is because they take more precautions. So, what precautions should you be taking if you want to safely exercise outdoors?
Reducing your risk of melanoma
If you want to make sure you are protected against melanoma while exercising outdoors, there are some precautions you can take. They include:
- Wearing sunscreen
- Avoid working out during the hottest part of the day
- Wear light coloured clothing
- Keep hydrated
Wearing sunscreen is the number one way to protect the skin while out in the sun. You’ll ideally want to invest in one that has at least SPF 30, but Mr. Smith recommends SPF 50. The thing to remember when you are exercising, is that sweating can cause the sunscreen to wear off. This means you may need to reapply it more frequently.
Avoid working out during the hottest parts of the day. Try to exercise either first thing in the morning, or early evening. Wearing light coloured clothing will also help to repel the sun. Dark coloured clothes absorb the heat, making it more difficult to work out safely.
Of course, you should also make sure you stay well hydrated. However, avoid drinking too much as this can be equally as dangerous. If you feel your mouth getting dry, have a drink of water. If you don’t stay hydrated, it could lead to heat stroke.
Overall, exercising outdoors won’t increase your risk of melanoma provided you take the right precautions. Always protect the skin with sunscreen. And remember to keep an eye on any changes in moles on the body too.
Mr Myles Smith has extensive experience diagnosing and treating melanoma. Melanoma is most commonly removed through surgery. But the earlier you undergo treatment, the more successful it is likely to be.
For more advice, call us on 020 3770 5864 to arrange an appointment at the HCA Lister Hospital Clinics (Chelsea Outpatient Centre and Chiswick Medical Centre) or call 020 7808 2785 to book a consultation with Mr Myles Smith at the Royal Marsden Hospital.