The health and wellbeing of volunteers/recreational walkers is a priority issue for the Friends of the Heysen Trail.
Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with two out of three people experiencing some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. The Friends of the Heysen Trail acknowledges and recognises that skin cancer is a preventable disease and will actively promote, encourage and support skin protection at all walks, projects, events, activities and functions with which they are associated.
Whether you’re strolling, walking the dog, bushwalking or power-walking, the sun’s UV is your constant companion
Cancer Council research shows that people are just as likely to get sun damage from a short walk as they are by spending a day at the beach. This is because people tend to use better sun protection at the beach! If you’re outside in peak UV times or outside for long periods of time you’re at risk of sun damage and skin cancer.
Five tips for how to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide to stay on track
1. Cover up exposed skin: SLIP on clothing that covers as much skin as possible while still being comfortable. If you can see skin, UV can reach it. Try densely-woven, loose-fitting, cool clothing or walking gear labelled UPF50 to help block UV.
2. Apply sunscreen correctly and frequently: SLOP on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen to any parts of skin not covered by clothing. Sunscreen won’t provide 100% protection but used in conjunction with other sun protection methods it will greatly reduce your risk of skin damage.
Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before heading out. Choose a formula that feels comfortable on your skin that you’ll be happy to reapply.
Sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours and more regularly if you’re sweating, so put some in your back-pack. Hydration breaks or shady parts of the path provide the perfect opportunities to reapply.
Correct application of sunscreen is essential. 85% of Aussies don’t use enough sunscreen putting themselves at risk. Check out our sunscreen calculator.
3. Protect your face, neck and ears: SLAP on a broad-brim or bucket hat with a deep crown and angled brim to help shade the face, neck and ears. It will also help with sun glare.
4. Choose your course carefully: SEEK shady walking paths and tracks whenever possible. Hydrate and rest in the shade. Try to walk earlier in the morning or later in the day when the sun’s UV isn’t as intense. Download the free SunSmart app to stay on top of UV levels and sun protection times.
5. Protect your eyes: SLIDE on sunglasses: to help protect your eyes from UV and sun glare. Roads and paths can reflect high levels of UV so eye protection is important Sunglasses can also help protect your eyes from wind, dust, grit and bugs. For best protection, choose a wrap-around style that meet the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 1067).
Last reviewed 10th March 2022 and text taken from https://www.sunsmart.com.au/advice-for/sports-groups/top-sunsmart-tips-for-your-sport/walking