Stay Safe for Summer Running

the sunThere’s nothing better than a nice sunny day to head outside for a good run. Something about being outside in the sun, doing something I love really gets me in a good mood and makes me more productive.

Running and exposure to the sun are two things that can really boost your mood. It is well known that exercise releases endorphins which make us happy and healthy. Along with that sunlight has a similar effect. Especially for those of us who might not get outside as much as we like. If you’ve heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder, you know that in the colder months, people often don’t get outside and if they do usually they are bundled up, not letting any cold reach them, but also stopping sunlight from reaching their skin. This leads to depression and has other nasty side effects.

Although running in the bright sunlight has definite bonuses there are some things you need to watch out for as well. As always with running, be sure to listen to your body. If you start to develop a pain, like a grinding in your joints or a sharp pain anywhere in your body, stop immediately. Pains like this can develop for lots of reasons like having taken a misstep and strained a muscle or having an awkward gait which puts pressure on your joints. If you stop as soon as you notice these pains and give yourself plenty of time to rest and recuperate before your next run you may get away with very little problem. However, if you try to push through the pain you’ll end up with a real injury which will stay with you for days or weeks, causing every day walking around to be very painful. It is important to learn to recognize these types of sharp pain or joint pain and be able to discern them from regular muscle soreness or fatigue caused by cardiovascular exercise. It is great to push your boundaries by running past your comfort zone but it isn’t good to ignore your body when it is telling your something is seriously wrong.

The next thing to think about is the sun. While I’ve just said that there are benefits to being out in the sun it is also important to remember that there are dangers which you must look out for. A lot of people recognize the importance of sun protection like sunscreen and glasses when they head to the beach, but a lot of people forget that going out for an hour long run in the bright sun will get you just as burnt as an hour sitting on the beach. It is important to remember to use sunscreen when running as well as proper eye protection. Depending where you run, glare from things like car windshields and the like can get very frustrating if you are without sunglasses. Another issue I run into is that I have eye floaters which really become a problem when I am looking at a clear blue sky on a sunny day. Eye floaters are little black or clear dots or squiggly lines that show up in your vision and seem to move about your eye and get in front of anything you try to look at, as seen on SeeingBlackSpots. They can get really annoying and as I said can get even worse than usual on a clear, sunny day. Wearing sunglasses helps but I still find them frustrating and annoying to deal with sometimes.

The winter weather may keep us inside but I’m looking forward to spring and the chance to get out and hit the pavement in shorts and let the sun shine down on me. I hope to see you out there too, having fun and being safe in the sun.