Winter Sports UV Dangers
Many people think that UV dangers are something to worry about only during summer. The truth is that UV radiation is present all year round, and is dangerous during the winter at the same level. Those who plan on winter sports, or train during winter, need to know these facts, in order to be safe from the solar dangers during this season.
There are two UV radiation types which reach earth from the sun. The short UVB and the long UVA. The short rays are ‘tanning’ rays and THEY are more intense during the summer. But the longer UV rays, which are just under visible light, are at the same level all year. This means that the levels of UVA do not change when autumn or winter arrives. Just like sun light, they exist in the same intensity.
We feel the sun light is less warm during winter because the UVB the shorter rays do not reach earth at the same intensity, they are filtered in the atmosphere. This is happening because of the natural tilt in the earth rotation.
Winter UV Radiation Compared To Summer
UVA rays are very similar to light rays, and they have one other feature worth knowing. They are able to penetrate clouds, and some fabrics. So if a runner goes out running or a cyclist is out for a long ride, in a cool cloudy day in December, they are both exposed to the same amount of UV radiation as if they are training in June. The main difference is that the air temperature will be lower and if the sun is out they will not be getting a tan. As far as the UV radiation penetrating their skin, the troubling effects will be the same.
One other thing is that most of the people do not use and sun screen during winter, as they assume there is no UV danger. So a runner or a cyclist might be out for 2-3 hours jogging or riding and not be the least protected.
Athletes UV Protection During Winter
Those who do ski are usually well covered, but those who go out for running or riding their bike, or doing any outdoor workout, are exposed to endless UVA which as mentioned are penetrating deeper into their skin.
You do not have to be a professional athlete to be training for hours. Playing basketball out in the open courts, or football or baseball in the field every week few hours each, can add up to lots of hours uncounted for. Golf players are out in the green for hours, marathon runners and Sunday joggers are out for hours every week.
How Can You Decrease Your UV Exposure
The most important thing is awareness. Yo must know and share the fact that the UVA is all around us even in the winter.
Wear UV protective clothing when you are training, there are plenty of fashionable sportswear with UPF rating. UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, it’s like SPF rating for clothes. You need to look for sports clothes with UPF 50 which is the highest level possible, they block over 98% of all UV.
There are running clothes, and Dri Fit clothes with UV protection for all aerobic athletes. Those which have long sleeves cover more skin. Don’t forget the legs, the UV does not care were it is absorbed, so long running tights and sports pants should to be part of your winter UV filtering apparel.
For better protection athletes can add long UV protective sleeves. They are used by runners or cyclists, allowing them training with their regular clothes but adding skin coverage when outside.
If you apply sun screening creams, note that they must be ‘broad-spectrum’ or UVA & UVB protective. Because regular SPF cream DO NOT FILTER the UVA radiation only the tanning UVB, which is not relevant at winter anyway. The SPF count is not really significant, anything over 15-50 is good enough as long as it is wide spectrum!
Get UV protective clothes and enjoy your training!