Promoting Sun Safety in Your Community: Recreation Centers

Tennis courts, athletic fields, swimming pools — there are many sites where visitors to recreation center staples can receive harmful amounts of UV exposure if they’re not prepared. If you engage in sports like tennis, running or swimming, you should know that athletes can be particularly vulnerable to sun damage, since they tend to practice between 10 AM and 4 PM, when the sun is most intense, and wear clothes that expose a great deal of skin to the sun. Finally, intense exercise can deplete the immune system, making athletes more vulnerable to skin cancer. The tips below can help protect employees, members, and guests at recreation centers:

  • Distribute brochures and display posters from our Health Fair Kit in the recreation center’s lobby, locker rooms, snack bars, equipment and training rooms, and administrative offices to promote sun safety.

  • Develop a sun protection policy that ensures children will be sun-safe when outdoors.  For more information, please see “The Glaring Need for Sun Safety in Schools,” from the 2011 edition of The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal.

  • Assess ways to improve shade at outdoor areas such as tennis courts, jogging tracks, swimming pools, and elsewhere. Consider planting trees, building breezeways and gazebos, and providing shade structures.

  • Hosting a local sporting event? Encourage fans to be sun-safe, too, with these tips!

  • Schedule outdoor sporting competitions for early morning and late afternoon (avoiding the peak hours from 10 AM to 4 PM) whenever possible.

  • Establish a sun protection policy for employees, and provide them with SPF 30 or higher sunscreen and urge its use.

  • Protect employees by scheduling maintenance on outdoor areas for early morning or late afternoon and evening; indoor or shaded areas can be attended to during peak sunlight hours.

  • Sell sun protection products such as water-resistant SPF 30+ sunscreen (sport sunscreens are a great idea) and broad-brimmed hats, UV-filtering sunglasses, and lightweight, sun-protective sportswear with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 30+.

  • Hold lectures or workshops on sun protection—health-conscious recreation center members should be very receptive.

  • Invite members of the local medical society or medical center to speak on skin cancer prevention and detection.

  • Schedule skin cancer screenings at the recreational center.