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Wellness Warriors

Follow up on the Grand Canyon Peeke Performers – Reflecting on the Expedition

This past September eight adventurous women took on the challenge of hiking the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim as part of their journey of personal fitness and wellbeing.  The two-day 26.2 mile hike involved over 5,800 feet of descent and 4,500 feet of elevation gain, while each person carried 25 pound backpacks along the way.

Many factors attributed to the overall success of the difficult hike, one being the excellent guidance of hike leader Dr. Pamela Peeke, a renowned nutrition, fitness and health expert. Dr. Peeke says, “This is when all of those hours you spent in the gym, or were physically active, really paid off. You need strong legs, great balance and flexibility, as well as mental and physical stamina and endurance, to survive this advanced hiking trek. Mind and body unite to allow you to thoroughly embrace and enjoy every single moment of the journey.”

Dermatologist Dr. Shanny Baughman also attributes her success to physically and mentally preparing. “I leapt at the chance to join Dr. Peeke and her “Peeke Performers” on this hike,” says Dr. Baughman. “After opening my derm office in October, 2008, my energy was all going into the practice.  I was becoming the person I never wanted to be – middle-aged and out of shape.  Well, I can only change one of those, and Pam has helped me do that. She has been counseling me to incorporate exercise into my daily routine.”  

Dermatologist Dr. Baughman also brought her expertise in skin health to the group. “I had two concerns about the trip – 1) would I be able to make it and 2) how to stay protected from the sun for two days straight?” says Dr. Baughman. While Dr. Peeke helped Dr. Baughman ease her first concern, Coolibar assisted in eliminating her concern about sun protection. The Grand Canyon provides very little shade and the sun’s rays can become extremely intense. Wearing the provided Coolibar shirts and hats allowed the trekkers to focus on their journey and pay less attention to sunburns and heat exhaustion. “Spray-on sunscreen with zinc oxide, and sun protective hats and shirts from Coolibar kept our skin hidden from the intense UV rays,” says Dr. Baughman.  “The garments and hats were effective yet light weight.  I couldn’t imagine the trip without them.  They fit well, yet were loose enough for hiking, climbing up switch backs, and over streams.”

All of the Peeke Perfomers mentally and physically prepared for this challenging task by exercising, eating well and finding a reliable source of sun coverage. With this in mind, Dr. Peeke sends us these encouraging words. “By the end of the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim hike, every participant realized that if they could get through this mental and physical feat, they could probably get through anything in life. That’s the beauty of these challenges. You could do the same thing. Choose a challenge, any challenge (e.g. walk or jog a 5K, walk 4 miles and live to talk about it!), and see how that achievement gifts you with the confidence to face life’s curve balls.”

Prepare for your next challenge, and stay sun safe.

Dr. Peeke and the Peeke Performers
Dr. Peeke (in the middle with orange shorts) and the Peeke Performers

 

Peeke Performers making the descent
Peeke Performers making the descent
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Wellness Warriors

High Altitude Sun Protection

Above the Clouds – Beneath the Sun

We at Coolibar have great admiration for those who pursue intense outdoor adventures and strive to help them do it safely.  Height seeking mountain climbers need to be aware of the dangers of UV at higher altitudes.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “UV intensity increases with altitude because there is less atmosphere to absorb the damaging rays. As a result, the chance of damaging your eyes and skin increases at higher altitude.”

Our friend Paul Ridley of Row for Hope shares his Mountaineering experience.

High altitude mountaineering comes with lots of obvious risks: avalanches, crevasses, falling ice, high winds, and high altitude sickness. As a climber with two parents who’ve battled melanoma, I’m acutely aware of the health risk from sun exposure that is only a second thought to many mountaineers.  

In the thin air climbers encounter above 10,000 feet there is often no hope of protection from clouds, and the thin air and reflective snow makes for dangerous sunburns. While climbing I’ve been sunburned on the roof of my mouth, the underside of my nose, and inside my nostrils.

Paul Ridley – Muir Snowfield

Keep in mind there is enough reflected UV that even in a shaded area, skin can sunburn. Apply sunscreen to exposed areas to avoid a burn, even if you plan on wearing a sun hat or staying in the shade.  The Coolibar Face Shield offers both the skin –coverage protection and breathe-ability that sun-conscious climbers need at altitude.

Take it from Paul and remember to protect your skin, especially at high altitude.

  • Sun protective clothing, including a hat with a three-inch brim, will protect you at all times of the day. 
  • Use ample sunscreen on those parts of your skin that will be exposed – face, neck, top of ears, hands.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. 

Be SunAWARE and Be Safe!

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Wellness Warriors

The Grand Canyon Peeke Performers

Every year over five million people from all over the world visit the Grand Canyon.  Less than 1% of those visitors ever reach the bottom.  Of those that actually complete the Rim-to-Rim hike, only 8% are women.  

These statistics didn’t dissuade eight determined women.  The Grand Canyon Peeke Performers physically and mentally challenged themselves to complete the rigorous Rim-to-Rim hike as a part of their journey of personal fitness and well-being.  They hiked the Grand Canyon north rim to south rim, with an overnight stay at the base.  The 26.2 mile (marathon distance) trek included 112 degree temperatures and the load of their 25-pound backpacks. 

The Peeke Performers were lead by wellness expert Dr. Pamela Peeke, who invited her friend and colleague, The US Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, who shares a love of hiking.  With the addition of 6 adventurous women the Rim-to-Rim hikers were assembled and trained for months with Dr. Peeke to increase their stamina and endurance in preparation for the challenge.

Dr. Pamela Peeke and Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin

Dermatologist Dr. Shanny Baughman, a Grand Canyon Peeke Performer, brought this momentous hike to Coolibar’s attention.  Being a dermatologist, Dr. Baughman was concerned about UV exposure while in the Grand Canyon, with virtually no protection from the sun.  They needed lightweight, breathable, sun protective gear – that’s where Coolibar came in.  Coolibar equipped the 8 women with UPF 50+ hats and shirts to keep them protected from the sun.

Pictured below are The Grand Canyon Peeke Performers at the start of their expedition.  More details to come on their Rim-to-Rim adventure.

Grand Canyon Peeke Performers - Wearing their Coolibar UPF 50+ Travel Shirts and Lightweight Sun Hats
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Expert Rx Wellness Warriors

Tennis Anyone?

Improve your Game 

On the heels of the US Open, we wanted to call attention to the vast number of hours that tennis players spend in the sun, exposed to harmful UV.  While we understand that sun protection is not your main focus while on the court there are some alarming statistics from the Skin Cancer Foundation that tennis players cannot ignore. 

 

  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
  • About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
  • Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.

 Jennifer Reinbold, a former pro tennis player who now coaches in Indianapolis spoke to the Skin Cancer Foundation about her experience.  Jennifer competed in nine grand slam tournaments, reaching the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 1983 before losing to the eventual winner, Martina Navratilova.  After years of sun exposure, and some incident with skin cancer, Jennifer practices what she preaches: Respect the sun! 

        “Q: Do you think the message about sun protection is getting through?” 

“A: There is more sun awareness today. Most players I teach or play with wear sunscreen and have a hat in their tennis  bags. However, they don’t usually reapply sunscreen when playing for extended periods. Also, just because they have a hat or visor doesn’t mean they use it! Many players don’t realize their scalps are as vulnerable as the rest of their bodies.” 

Some of the best players on the court have dedicated themselves to promoting skin cancer awareness, including tennis pro Andy Caress.  Before he lost his battle with melanoma last August, at the age of 25, he started the Andy Caress Melanoma Foundation (formerly Mela-KNOW-More) to alert the world of the seriousness of Melanoma Skin Cancer and the dangers of the sun’s harmful rays.  Andy said, “I did not understand that I was threatening my life when I went outside and did not wear sunscreen.  I was 23 and figured I was way too young to worry about cancer.”

The good news is that there are simple SUNAWARE steps you can take to protect yourself from UV, and it’s never too late to start.

So grab your racquet, hat, UV T-shirt and sunscreen and hit the court! Protect yourself from the sun so you can concentrate on your game. 

Point, Set, Match!

 

Andy Caress – Founder Mela-KNOW-More
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