Sunscreen Guide 2013: Only 25 Percent of Sunscreens Are Any Good

The Environmental Working Group released its seventh annual Sunscreen Guide this week, looking at the safety and efficacy of on-the-market sunscreens and ranking the best and worst. This year’s survey revealed that only about a quarter of the more than 1,400 tested products “offer strong and broad UV protection and pose few safety concerns,” according to an EWG press release.

Interestingly, the FDA’s sunscreen labeling guidelines finally kicked in this year, barring manufacturers from using misleading words like “sunblock,” “sweat-proof” and “water-proof” and imposing standards on sunscreens that claim to offer broad-spectrum protection. However, EWG found that even with these regulations, the “analysis of 750 beach and sport sunscreens found that the new FDA rules have not led to dramatically better sunscreens than those offered in previous years.” Womp wooooomp.

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Q: Why Do I Have Body Hair?

Making an appointment now for a full body waxing to get you ready for your annual winter vacay in St. Barths? You might want to rethink that plan.

Scientists at the University of Sheffield have shown that our fine human fuzz has a highly practical purpose. Through a truly chilling series of experiments involving bed bugs, Vaseline and tally-counters, Isabelle Dean and Michael T. Siva-Jothy proved that body hair serves as a distant-early-warning system against parasites (you feel ’em faster as they move through the jungle) and also made the human body less hospitable (i.e., it took the critters longer to latch on and blood-suck when they had to circumnavigate the tangles).

So go ahead and wax away—but you better have faith in the hygiene at your resort hotel.

To Do: Wildwood’s Free and $5 Fitness Classes

Check out the Wildwood Crest Recreation Department on your next vacation for plenty of ways to stay fit. Photo from wildwoodcrest.org.

Oh, those Wildwood days filled with beaches and boardwalk—and probably a fair amount of pizza and beer. But your annual shore vacation doesn’t have to spell disaster. The Wildwood Crest Recreation Department offers plenty of opportunities to stay fit, including daily morning-fitness classes—from pilates to cardio kickboxing—at Beach Pier at Heather Road. The $5 classes run through August 21st.

If you prefer to sleep in, check out the free outdoor yoga sessions held at 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday through August 18th at Sunset Lake. Or if you’re looking for more of a challenge, enter the Wildwood Crest 5K Beach Run on August 6th to stay in race shape and keep your competitive edge.

Daily classes: $5, 8:30 a.m., Wildwood Crest Beach Pier at Heather Road; Yoga: free, 7:30 p.m., Sunset Lake along New Jersey Avenue at Miami Road; 5K Beach Run: $20, August 6th, 6:30 p.m., Wildwood Crest beach Pier at Heather Road.

Five Fitness-Focused Getaways

Skip the beach and head out for an adventure / Photo from AdventureFinder.com

Most people associate “vacation” with days full of sandy beaches, cool ocean breezes and total relaxation. But while taking a week to lounge around and unwind may be great for your mental health, all that inactivity can hit your waistline hard, especially if you indulge in boardwalk pizza and ice cream or a few too many pinã coladas. This summer, why not use those vacation days to do something a little different? Trade in your flip-flops for a sturdy pair of sneakers and gear up for a multi-day adventure vacation, whether it be kayaking, hiking, biking—or all three. You’ll get a picturesque glimpse at some natural scenery (besides the Jersey Shore) while enjoying a fun physical challenge that you certainly can’t get at the gym. At AdventureFinder.com, you can search by activity, location and vacation duration to find the trip that’s right for you. Here, five great trips currently running in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Read more »

Three Amazing Fitness Getaways

Spa Montage

It’s been awhile since we’ve talked travel, Be Wellers! I think my need to roam was temporarily abated thanks to all of the weekends down the Shore and summer weddings, but I’m starting to get tired of the routine I’ve built up: weekends of overindulging and then catch-up (and payback) at the gym all week, and was thinking it might be a good time to reset my habits and start fresh for fall with an inspirational wellness getaway. Sounds like a nice start to a new season. (Especially since skinny jeans appear to be in yet again this fall.) Read more »

The Best Gyms Down the Shore

Just because you’re away from home and surrounded by sun and sand doesn’t mean you have to forgo those yoga or Pilates classes or get (completely) out of the habit of hitting the gym. From LBI to Cape May, here are the best Shore spots to sweat. Read more »

Healthy Travel: Heavenly Hiking in Vermont

I have a friend who decamped years ago to the mountains of Vermont, and he is positively evangelical about the summertimes up there. He says the mountains are cool and lush, perfect for hiking and nighttime star-gazing. It’s because of him—and because I love a good hike—that I am in love with the idea of a trip to New Life Hiking Spa in Killington, a 33-year-old health spa in the Green Mountains that was just named by MSNBC as one of the top 10 fitness vacations in the world. Read more »

Score a Better Bod With Your Buds

At the moment, I’m somewhat obsessed with the idea of putting together a no-boys-allowed trip with my dearest old girlfriends. And I’m not talking about one of those girlfriend getaways that involve mud masks and finger sandwiches or weekend-long scrapbooking extravaganzas or anything like that. I want adventure. I want something active, something challenging, something exciting we’ll remember long after we leave. That in mind, here are three package deals that’ll leave give any group of girls a reason to forgo the lazy days of daiquiris by the pool in favor of a fresh sort of fun. — Christine Speer, Travel Editor

Ride a Horse, Be a Cowgirl
The cowgirl workshop at New Hampshire’s Farm by the River B&B is tucked away in the picturesque White Mountains, and I can already imagine the hilarity as we attempt to rope a fence post. The Ride a Horse, Be a Cowgirl deal includes five nights lodging, breakfast each day, a trail ride each morning, riding lessons, and an amiable-sounding group BBQ.

Go: $2,000 for two people in one room; two-room suites are also available. June 20th to 25th. 2555 West Side Road, North Conway, NH, 603-356-2694. Read more »