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Sun Safe Tips for Staying Healthy & Gorgeous in the Sun

by Christina Schneider, MPH

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that one American dies every hour from preventable melanomas. Long-term sun exposure damages your skin and leaves it discolored and wrinkled, so staying healthy and beautiful go hand in hand, especially when you’re outside around the garden or homestead. You don’t have to give up beach vacations or stay inside forever to prevent cancer and keep your skin looking great. Follow these four sun safe tips to protect yourself before heading outdoors.

Protect Your Eyes

You can’t get a sunburn on your eyes, but you can damage them permanently with too much sunlight. Plus, your eye region can get skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 5-10% of all skin cancers affect the eyelid. You don’t want to smear sunscreen on your eyelids because it can drip into your eyes and irritate them, but you can implement other sun safe tips to keep your peepers healthy. First, wear sunglasses whenever you’re outside. Choose shades that block UVA and UVB light. Second, wear a wide-brimmed hat that covers your entire forehead and eye area.

Choose a Hat

Hats do more than protect your eyes. They also shade your face and neck, the two most important areas to keep healthy for long-term beauty. Protecting your delicate facial skin from sunburns helps fight wrinkles, spotting, and other unsightly damage. If you prefer small-brimmed hats or ball caps, be sure to use sunscreen on the back of your neck, ears, and other exposed areas.

Wear Protective Clothing

Imagine a stereotypical desert dweller. Most people will conjure up a nomad with fully covered arms and legs underneath a long robe. Now think about what you normally wear to the beach or outside on a hot day; you probably show a lot more skin than your imaginary friend from the desert. Although it’s common to strip down when the weather heats up, you are doing long-term damage to your skin by not covering up. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you should protect yourself from UV rays by wearing long pants or skirts and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors. Synthetic materials like nylon, rayon, and acrylic provide the greatest levels of protection.

Use Sunscreen

Even if you wear sunglasses, protective clothing, and a hat, you still need to use sunscreen to cover your exposed skin. Choose products with a sun protective factor (SPF) of at least 15 and reapply every 2 hours. If you’re going to push long sleeves up your arms, cover your forearms and the back of your hands with sunscreen, and be sure to cover your neck, chest, and back.

Whether you’re headed for a safari or just want to know how to make it through summer without a sunburn, these four sun safe tips will help keep you safe. If your friends or family make fun of your efforts to protect yourself, just remember that you’ll have the last laugh when they’re suffering through a sunburn and you’re not. By making smart decisions, you can keep your skin healthy and beautiful for years to come.

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Toning Up: At Home Exercises To Take You From Flabby To Fabulous

Your old gym membership card sits defunct in a drawer somewhere. Any fitness equipment sitting in your house does little more than collect dust, and all the while your muscle mass just keeps deflating despite the farm work you do each day. You might have planned to tone up at one point, but the thought stopped you in your tracks before you could even start. Well don’t you fret. Now you can take baby steps towards getting into better shape with toning exercises at home without the fancy equipment. Really!

Try some of the following suggestions for firming up those arms, abs, thighs, buttocks, and other areas:

Wall Push-ups

Just standing around waiting for the pressure cooker to get up to the right temperature? Do some wall push-ups, these will help tone the arms and pectorals. Facing a wall, hold your arms out in front of you and place your hands on the wall, shoulder-width apart. Spread your feet shoulder-length apart as well. Lean forward until your chin almost (or actually) touches the wall between your hands, making sure your heels still touch the floor. Do this as often as you want throughout the day in repetitions of 10, 20, etc. But don’t go overboard and render your upper body useless!

Chair Sit-ups

You started working on a fabulous quilt in your project room. You’ve been at it for hours. You just realized that if you don’t do something to break the monotony you’ll lose it. So do this: sit sideways on your chair close to the edge. Position your feet flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart. Lower your torso down until you’re almost horizontal with the seat of the chair, breathing in as you go down. Stay for a second, then lift your torso back into a sitting position, exhaling on the way up and keeping your feet on the ground. Repeat this tummy toning exercise for 3 sets of 10 reps.

Squeeze-Your-Muscles Arm Lifts

Did you just open your fridge and reach for the milk or water jug? Why not squeeze your arm muscles as you lift slowly and release them as you lower your arm? Switch arms as you return the item(s) to the fridge. Turn it into a workout by lifting with one hand at a time and use the other to brace yourself against a wall or tabletop (to keep your balance and help maintain posture) and do 3 sets of 10 reps for each arm.

Kitchen Sumo Squats

Tone your thighs, buttocks and legs while you putter around in the kitchen preparing meals, washing dishes, etc. Sumo squats are perfect for kitchen activities since you might need to turn your feet outward if you’re standing at the counter.

Unlike regular squats, you’ll be standing with your feet wider than shoulder-width and your toes turned slightly outward. Squat down, pushing your hips back but keeping your chest up. Keep your knees turned slightly outward. Return to the standing position to complete one rep. Start with 1-3 sets of 6 reps, it all depends on your skill level. You don’t want to overdo it with anything that keeps you from getting around the farm the next day!

Step-Stepper Exercises

If your home is up on a raised foundation, then this next one is definitely for you. Here you’ll use the top or bottom step of any staircase available to you. Step up with one foot, then the other, and back down with one foot following the other. For a bigger challenge, move up or down an extra step. This tones your thighs and lower legs too, and you can do these exercises in increments of 5-10 minutes at a time, as often as you can manage daily.

Bum Squeezes

Here’s a funny exercise that works sitting or standing. Firm up the buttocks by simply squeezing your butt cheeks together for a few seconds, then release and repeat. Do this for 5-10 minutes, several times a day. Combine it with Kegels and you just hit this one out of the park! 🙂

Toning your thighs, stomach, arms, and more just got a little easier. With some thinking outside the box and creativity, you can come up with more simple, easy exercises and routines to start and maintain. Give it a try. You just might be amazed at the results!

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