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The Best Ways to Avoid Sunburns when Exercising Outdoors

So it is Summer and you are exercising outdoors regularly and you keep getting sunburns. How do you stop that from happening?

Prevention.

So what are the best ways of thinking ahead to prevent sunburns?

#1. Understanding how Sunscreen Works

You might think SPF 30 is twice as good as SPF 15 and blocks out twice as much of the sun's UV radiation, but you would sadly be wrong. That isn't actually how it works. It seems logical that 30 should be twice as good as 15, and likewise 45 and 60 should be three and four times as good, but that isn't how it works.

According to scientists:

SPF 15 blocks approx. 94% of UV radiation.

SPF 30 blocks 97% and SPF 45 blocks 98%, and SPF 60 blocks 99%.

So with numbers in the low to high 90s, this sounds pretty good, right? Sadly this assumes that the person applies the sunscreen liberally on their skin. There are other factors too:
  • Some places on the skin might get less sunscreen.
  • Sweat from exercising or extreme heat can cause the sunscreen to become diluted and less effective.
  • How often you reapply sunscreen.
  • The brand of sunscreen also varies in efficacy*.

* Some brands of sunscreen contain chemicals that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have a watch-list for being potential carcinogens like titanium dioxide and octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC).

Because people often forget to reapply sunscreen, I recommend setting an alarm clock on your phone to remind you to reapply. Most companies recommend applying every 2 hours, but if you are worried you might forget then maybe aim for every 100 minutes or so.

If you are exercising and sweating a lot, you might even reapply once per hour.

If you are especially worried about getting a sunburn then you should always apply sunscreen liberally, as if you are a vampire who will die if you don't.

Do not use sun tanning oil. The SPF in that is so low it is basically non-existent.


#2. Limit your Exposure Time

The first half hour or hour, most people will be pretty safe from UV radiation depending on how vulnerable a person is. Some people are more pale and get sunburned easily, so they need to limit their exposure more.

So if you are exercising outdoors you might want to set a time limit for how long you are exercising, like 45 or 60 minutes, and then go someplace in the shade to cool off. Combined with sunscreen this is a very safe strategy.

You could even take a break for awhile, and later reapply sunscreen and resume exercising for another 45 to 60 minutes.

#3. Deliberately get a Tan

So your skin is actually pretty good at blocking out UV rays, but to do so it needs to be tanned. The darker shade of skin blocks more harmful rays from the sun and protects you. The more you tan, the more protected your skin becomes from UV rays.

The trick here is to get the tan, without getting the sunburns... and that means sunscreen and possibly limiting your exposure time. So you would need to be setting specific times to "go to the beach or park and get a tan" or whatever it is you are doing, and set a specific amount of time you will be spending at the beach, park, etc tanning. That or reapply sunscreen using an alarm clock on your phone to remind you.

#4. Tightly Woven / Loose Fit Clothing

Fabric that is too thin and not tightly woven can still let through lots of UV radiation, causing you to get a sunburn right through your shirt.

You should also bring something extra to wear in case your sunscreen wears off or runs out.

Try to pick clothing that is also comfortable to exercise in.

#5. Hat and Scarf

A good hat or scarf can protect you face and/or neck from sunburns. eg. A bandanna tied around the neck like a scarf also works well to prevent sunburns on the back and sides of the neck.

A big floppy hat is not ideal for exercising in, but a baseball cap and a bandanna would work nicely.

#6. Avoid 12 PM to 4 PM

The worst times of the day to be outside in the sun is approx. from 12 PM to 4 PM. So if you want to exercise and avoid those times, try to exercise in the morning or late afternoon / evening.

#7. Plan your Route / Day

Lets say you are going jogging. Plan a route that takes you under lots of shade trees so you are limiting your exposure to sunlight.

Or if you are doing an activity where you know you will be in direct sunlight, plan out specific times during the day to take breaks, drink water, eat snacks, and reapply sunscreen. (Recommend eating first before applying sunscreen. Nobody likes tasting sunscreen in their food.)

#8. Vitamin Supplements = Minor Benefit

There are some benefits to taking a vitamin D3 supplement, in that sunburns won't be as severe, but it doesn't prevent sunburns. So you can take it if you want to, but bear in mind it doesn't prevent the sunburn itself. Anyone who claims it prevents sunburns is basically perpetuating a myth.

Some people have deficiencies in zinc and magnesium (likely due to a shortage in their diet or a genetic disorder), and as a result have more photosensitive skin. Taking vitamin supplements or eating foods that are higher in zinc and magnesium are helpful for people with those conditions, but will not benefit the average person.

Health claims by 3rd party websites and the supplement industry should be treated as biased and suspect. In researching this post I determined a lot of websites were advertising vitamin D3 and other supplements, and that they were exaggerating the benefits of taking the supplements.






Happy Exercising!

Archery Lesson Plan for Olympic Archery Students

Q


"I’ve read that you like to teach traditional recurves bows before the Olympic recurve bow, does this mean that we won’t get a chance to learn the Olympic bows in this session, and that this will be taught in another session?"

- Cassandra T.

A

Hello Cassandra!

Yes, over the years I have determined it is easier for the beginner archery student to learn to shoot traditional recurves first and then switch to Olympic later on, which is stylistically different despite being very similar. Preferably after the 2nd lesson, so if that is something you want to learn it would be best to do it during the 3rd lesson and following that.

The stylistic challenges of shooting Olympic style is such a student shooting that style for the first time is more likely to be missing completely and losing arrows, because they have to learn everything a Traditional Recurve archer has to learn, plus they need to learn the following topics:

  1. How to use and tune a sight - a practice which is hampered if the student has not already learned good form. It is better to learn the form aspects first, then learn how to use a sight later.
  2. How to use a stabilizer, and how to determine if a stabilizer is too light or too heavy.
  3. How to do a Live Release with South Anchor (as opposed to a Dead Release with North Anchor), which is harder to learn to do properly.
  4. How to keep your bow hand relaxed during the Follow Through.
  5. How to control your breathing (into the belly, not the chest) in order to get more accuracy.
  6. How to handle mental stress, fatigue, and issues like "Gold Shy" + "Target Anxiety".
  7. How to use a Clicker to tell you when to release.
  8. And more.
And frankly it is a lot to learn in a single lesson. It makes more sense to learn good form during lessons 1 and 2, and then learn the additional things an Olympic archer is expected to learn in the lessons that follow.

Lesson Plan for Olympic Recurve

For my regular lesson plan, see Archery Lesson Plan.

Lesson One - Safety Lecture, Eye Test, Aiming Lecture, Form Lecture, Field Archery with Traditional Recurve.

Note - Field Archery involves shooting at a target at random (often unknown) distances and is especially handy for teaching students how to aim at different distances and how to adjust their aim, which is an import skill for beginner archers to learn.

Lesson Two - Target Archery with Traditional Recurve, with a break in the middle for a Lecture on Arrrowheads

Note - Target Archery is your standard stationary target at the same distance, which is better for learning how to fine tune your aim at that one specific distance.

Lesson Three - Olympic Style Form Lecture + Target Archery, with a break in the middle for a Lecture on Arrow Spine. The lesson would focus on gradually teaching the student how to use a Olympic sight and stabilizer, and how to perform a "live release".

Note - Not all Olympic archers prefer live releases. Some prefer to use a dead release, although most do prefer a live release. I leave it up to the student to decide which they prefer.

South Korean archer Chang Hye-Jin

Lesson Four - Fine Tuning with the Olympic Recurve + possibly going to a further distance if the student is ready. Demo on how to wax a bowstring. The lesson may focus on aspects like keeping the bow hand relaxed during the Follow Through, how to control breathing, etc.

Olympic Archery Clicker
Lesson Five and Beyond

I find this really depends on the student's needs, as each student will have different problems they need to address. Topics would include:

  • How to shoot at longer distances.
  • How to compensate for wind conditions.
  • How to handle Mental Stress/Fatigue.
  • How to cure Gold Shy and Target Anxiety.
  • How to use a Clicker.
  • How to shoot in the rain (as competitions are sometimes rain or shine).
  • Other factors that are usually unique to Olympic archers. eg. Competition Anxiety.
Things Not Being Taught

There are certain topics that I don't teach Olympic students, because they are essentially useless to someone who only wants to shoot Olympic style competitively at 70 meters. For example:
  • How to shoot at a moving target.
  • How to shoot downhill or uphill.
  • How to shoot while in motion.
  • Stylistic differences between traditional recurve and longbows / flatbows / horsebows.
  • How to adjust your aim based on changing distances.
  • Advanced Field Archery.
  • Clout Archery.
  • Archery Games/Activities such as Popinjay or Roving.
  • Skywalking (style of aiming for extreme long distance shooting).
  • How to Overdraw on purpose.
  • How to Stringwalk on purpose.
  • How to Facewalk on purpose.
  • How to shoot around obstacles.
  • How to shoot while kneeling or sitting.
  • How to shoot faster.
  • How to shoot instinctively (which sadly many people misunderstand what counts as instinctive).
  • How to adjust and micro-adjust sights on a compound bow*.
  • Tricks for getting extra accuracy on a compound bow*.
  • How to synchronize the cams on a compound bow*.
  • How to change the poundage on a compound bow*.
  • Etc.
* I decided to include a few examples that are specifically just for compound shooters. Maybe someday I will post a lesson plan for compound archers.


Equipping the Olympic Archer

Around lesson five the student should be ready to buy their own archery equipment, if they have not done so already. I figured since I am writing about the lesson plan, I should also warn students about the financial costs of getting into Olympic Archery.

Expect to be spending about $700 + the cost of the arrows, which might cost an additional $180 or more depending on the quality of the arrows (the professionals use arrows that cost $600 for a dozen). Plus taxes. I didn't bother to even include 13% HST.

It is possible to get a cheaper Olympic bow (used maybe???) or a cheap counterfeit (no warranty!!!), or a poor / mediocre Olympic bow that does not even live up to the word "decent". To get a decent bow, expect to be spending $500 or more on the bow alone. Anything less than that and I question the quality and authenticity of the manufacturer.

And that is just for a decent Olympic bow. For a high end one you could be spending $750 USD (approx. $975 CDN) on just the riser, and another $750 USD on the limbs. No bowstring included, everything sold separately. (Plus the cost of shipping from the USA or South Korea, where the best Olympic bows are made.)

They will want to find the following.
  • A decent Olympic-style recurve bow, with bow limbs in a suitable poundage for their experience and strength.
  • Olympic stabilizer, preferably one that is not too heavy or light.
  • Shooting Tab
  • Clicker
  • Nock Bead
  • Sight
  • Arrow Rest
  • Bowstring Wax
  • Spare Bowstring (in case the first one breaks)
  • A dozen Olympic-style arrows, which are typically more expensive than regular arrows. The arrows need to be cut to the archer's precise draw length for their clicker.
Optional Items
  • Bracer / Arm Guard
  • Quiver
  • Archery Gear Backpack for transporting gear.
  • Chest Guard


Archery Chest Guards

    The Endangered Tiger Archery Target

    The wife of one of my students likes to make things out of Papier-mâché. She made the tiger head shown below. It isn't very big as you can see.



    Even at close range the tiger head looks quite small.

    According to my student, his wife makes all sorts of Papier-mâché animals. Owls, deer, bears, critters big and small.

    So for fun today he brought a Papier-mâché tiger head for us to shoot at. It seemed appropriate seeing his wife didn't want it anymore - it was a failed attempt.

    And she has many more failed attempts that she throws out regularly, into the recycling.

    Reducing her Papier-mâché is not an option, but Reusing them for archery certainly is.

    • Reduce
    • Reuse
    • Repair
    • Recycle

    And reusing old things as archery targets is something archers enjoy. Coffee lids, coffee cups, old photographs, old broken guitars...


    Each time my student hit the tiger head we moved it back three paces. By the end of the lesson it was a good distance out. Sometimes he would hit it so hard the head rolled over or spun around. Also the impacts would break chunks off, so the head was slowly shrinking as it got further away due to lost bits that had broken off.

    DISCLAIMER - I do not endorse the shooting of real tigers. Only fake ones. Or were-tigers. Are were-tigers real or fake? If you get bit by a were-tiger and become one, please let me know whether were-tigers are a real thing or not. Otherwise, yeah. Please do not shoot real tigers. They're endangered. Don't be a jerk.

    There are many other things you might consider using as an archery target. The following video below is of a group of archers shooting at a broken Walmart guitar. According to the owner it costs $50 for a new Walmart guitar, but a lot more than that to repair one. So what do you do with a broken Walmart guitar that is not worth repairing?

    Shoot at it of course!






    Job offer to teach archery in Japan

    Last week I received a job offer to teach archery in Japan at a resort. They are looking for an experienced instructor who can teach a variety of different kinds of archery to complete beginners. Woot? Or maybe not woot... keep reading!

    They were offering an annual salary of 2 million yen (roughly $23,000 CDN) plus free room and board at the resort.

    Sounds like a sweet offer, yes?

    Think again.

    #1. I am married and my wife just graduated law school, which means she is currently articling as a lawyer. Articling is sort of like an apprenticeship. So we are not going anywhere until she finishes articling.

    #2. My wife and I have a son now. I spend most of my weekdays looking after him and I usually only teach archery on weekends (although I can sometimes teach on Thursdays and Fridays). When in doubt, ask.

    #3. I happen to like my current routine of looking after my son and teaching archery when available.

    The resort wanted me to be available to teach 7 days per week, from 9 AM to 7 PM. With breaks whenever there was a lack of students. And I would be expected to work on holidays. So that is 10 hour days, 70 hour weeks. Practically sweatshop hours.

    Now I can do math.

    70 hour weeks... x 52 weeks. 3,640 hours per year. At $23,000 per year...

    Is $6.32 per hour.

    Which is less than Japan's minimum wage, but since I get free room and board, and breaks whenever there is *supposedly* a lack of students... apparently it circumvents Japan's minimum wage laws. Seems awfully fishy.

    Somehow I doubt there would be a lack of students and many breaks.

    So I would probably be working sweatshop hours and rarely get to see my son.

    #4. I used to teach English in South Korea many years ago. That whole experience made me distrustful of the corrupt "hagwon" system in Korea. Is the resorts in Japan similar to Korean hagwons? Maybe. I don't see any point in finding out.

    #5. I checked... the starting rate for teaching English in Japan is about 3 million yen per year. So it would actually make more sense for me to teach English instead of archery. Better pay.

    True, I love teaching archery - but teaching it 70 hours per week would take some of the fun out of it. My current system of less hours, better pay suits me just fine.

    #6. No pay for the first 3 months. Afterwards they would pay me 222,222 yen per month. This is to deter people who aren't serious about sticking around, so they claim. Makes me wonder what the turnover rate of new employees is.

    #7. This offer started to sound more and more like a scam. Trick foreigners into working in horrible conditions, pay them peanuts... most of them quit before 3 months.

    #8. Cost of living in Japan is very high. Korea and China are cheap in comparison.

    Would my wife and son be expected or welcome to just hang out at the resort all the time? Most likely they would get bored of it. Which means they are going out, taking taxis, eating out, etc. Such things add up and Japan is notoriously expensive to live in.

    #9. Free plane ticket for me, but what about my wife's and son's tickets? Who pays for that? Plus how big is this room? Is it big enough for a small family?

    #10. Why would I leave a successful business here in Canada, close to friends and family, for a job offer that is dubious?

    So yes. The offer sounds like a scam. Which is why I am recommending other archery instructors to be wary of such an offer. This is also why I am not mentioning the name of the resort, where it was located, etc. I don't want other archery instructors to get sucked in to this scam. If anything, I am now doing a public service by trying to warn other people.

    So even if I didn't have a wife and son, I still wouldn't be interested in this scam. There is too many IFs and irregularities in the offer.

    Would teaching archery in Japan be fun and interesting? Sure, but I would rather not have such a risky sounding offer.

    And I would rather do it on my own terms.

    8 hour days, 5 days per week, holidays off, 4 weeks of vacation time, 3,500 yen per hour (roughly $40 CDN per hour)... 10 paid sick days, health/dental insurance benefits for myself and my family.

    So that is 40 hours per week for 48 weeks, 3,500 yen per hour is... 6.72 million yen annually. ($76,800 CDN annually.) That is enough for a family of 3 to live on.

    But even then I still wouldn't take it, because my wife's earning potential as a lawyer is greater than mine.

    I would much rather stay here. Buy a house in Toronto, practice my woodworking skills, look after my son, teach archery because I enjoy it. Maybe eventually get that horse farm and teach equestrian archery.

    Japanese Yabusame (equestrian archery) would be interesting to see... but there are other ways to see that kind of archery don't involve so many risks, what ifs and poor pay.


    The 2018 Seton Archery Tournament at the Toronto Archery Range

    I will be judging / adjudicating an archery competition on June 23rd, namely the "E. T. Seton Archery Tournament" mentioned in the image further below. As an adjudicator I will basically be called upon for my math skills and to settle any disputes about whether an arrow is touching a line (in competitions if the arrow is touching the line, it counts as the higher amount of points).

    The location is at the Toronto Archery Range within E. T. Seton Park. If you have never been there before I recommend using a map.

    The tournament is free to join and there will be prizes, and a Potluck BBQ Lunch.

    People who want to take part in the tournament should be EARLY or ON TIME. If you are the type of person who is always running late, then you should really aim to be early. People need to be there on time in order to do their Ranking Rounds and then later enter the elimination rounds.




    Three Tips for Archery Competitions
    1. Eat, drink and be merry! Food, drink and laughter reduce stress. Hunger, dehydration and melancholy are a mental distraction.
    2. Relax during your shots and focus on the quality of your form and aim. Forget everything else.
    3. Ignore your rivals, instead focus on defeating the part of yourself that is holding you back.
    And Bonus! Pay attention to the wind conditions, but don't let the wind mess you up mentally either. Two years ago I took 2nd place in a compound competition because the wind started gusting during the final rounds and it was blowing me sideways while I was shooting. The frustration made me anxious and I messed up the final round, costing me 1st place. So my primary problem wasn't my rivals, it was myself getting frustrated by the wind conditions and allowing my anxiety to win. So I failed to follow my own tip in that scenario. Part of me was also tired and just wanted the competition to be over.

    Happy shooting!

    Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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