sunscreen.jpgI can’t decide how exactly to react to this Boston Globe article about how some fitness buffs are, because of skin cancer fears, keeping their workouts indoors this spring and summer.

On one hand, I get it.  Members of my family have had melanomas (thank God, successfully) removed, and my freckle-prone coloring has turned me into a shade-seeking missile who religiously applies SPF-billion and never misses an annual dermatological checkup.  Skin cancer is no joke. 

The past few years, though, there have been many moments when I’ve felt oppressed by the tyranny of “re-apply after sweating or swimming.”  I’ve felt the twinge that the Globe article describes thus: “The warmth of the sun on her skin makes her think of cancer and wrinkles, not summer.”

Although these feelings have often led me to think how much easier it would be to just not have the poison, carcinogenic sun following me around all day, the woman quoted in the Globe takes her twinge to a place where I’m not comfortable:  “I refuse to exercise outdoors.”

There are so many pleasures that health concerns (legitimate health concerns, mind you) seem to be taking away from us.  I can give up charred grilled meats and keep my refined sugar intake low.  But keep all my walking, running, bike riding and swimming activities indoors all summer?  That’s a loss I’m not willing to sustain. 

Again and again on this blog, we come back to the principle of balance, and I think it really applies here.  We don’t have to give up outdoor activities, but neither should we skip the sunscreen because we want to get “a little color.”  We don’t have to leave conversations to reapply sunscreen every 15 minutes, but neither should we let hours of beach time go by before we smooth on a little more.  We shouldn’t cover ourselves head to toe, but finding a pretty wide-brimmed hat never hurt anybody.

Oh – and on a related topic, in case you missed it check out Stacie Stukin’s fun, surprising post about spray-on tans.…and why she’s wearing sunscreen over hers.

How do you balance skin care with outdoor fun?

(image via: http://www.enviroblog.org/2008/07/about-that-new-york-times-sunscreen-column.html) 
  

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