But the truth is, you have just fast-forwarded your skin's clock on acquiring wrinkles, leathery skin, freckles and the loss of elasticity. It's called photo aging.
But everyone does it, so it must be safe -- right?
In the U.S., the most common cancer you are at risk for is skin cancer. More than 2 million people will be diagnosed this year with squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas, and there will be more than 70,000 cases of melanoma.
It is suspected that the incidence rate for melanoma has increased during the past 30 years because of the increase of ultraviolet exposure from indoor tanning devices. Twenty-six states have adopted restrictions based on age and require parental permission.
Unfit for fitness centers
Tanning beds are a source of revenue, they take up little space, and easily can be added to a hair salon or a fitness center. However, just because a sun bed is where people train to improve their health doesn't mean the beds are healthy. If a health and fitness facility owner really cared about your health, they would not have a tanning device.
But I need my vitamin D
We all need the sunshine vitamin. We naturally produce vitamin D when our skin is exposed to ultraviolet-B rays in sunlight. We need anywhere from five to 30 minutes of sun exposure to our face, arms, back or legs two times a week -- and this is without sunscreen. Most people get this amount incidentally and therefore should use sunscreen most of the time.
If you long for a deep tan, consider one of the many exceptional self-tanning lotions, sprays or wipes. They are affordable, fairly long-lasting and without the risks associated with indoor tanning.
Take a look at the skin and health of those who have been regular sun worshippers. This should guide you to an answer about tanning beds.
So, Julie, rather than expose your fit body to harmful rays, use those 20 minutes to make a positive impact on your health. Shop to prepare more nutritious meals or spend a little more time kicking butt in the gym.
Cindy Boggs, wellness presenter and author, is an ACE-certified instructor/trainer. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to cindys...@aol.com. Look for her award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World" on her website, www.cindysays.com.