Monday, April 29, 2013

Hair over health: does style trump exercise?

It’s Friday night and Pam is looking fierce. After spending several hours and big bucks at the salon, she finally has that perfect do. There is no way in world she going to the gym– that’s a fact. But as the weekend quickly comes to an end, she begins to think about the work week ahead and how it will impact her hair. It’s true that she usually goes to step aerobics on Tuesdays and Thursday and likes to jogs at least twice a week, but with her professional and social obligations, she wouldn’t dare “sweat her hair out” and risk looking a hot mess. She paid too much money for that.

It safe to say that few women would head straight to the gym from the hair salon, but this hair dilemma of “sweating your hair out” appears to be especially true for African-American women. A new study conducted by the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, in Winston-Salem, N.C., found that that many African-American women stay out of the gym to avoid damaging their hairdos. Thirty-one percent of the 103 African-American women surveyed said that they exercise less because it might harm their hairstyles. All the women agreed that exercise is important but fewer than a quarter actually met the Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended exercise rates. This has become a major public health issue because as a group, African-American women are in greater need of exercise. According to the American Obesity Association, 78 percent of black women are overweight and 50 percent can be categorized as obese.

While some women may use hairstyle as an excuse to skimp on the workout, a fly hairdo doesn’t have to trump a great a workout. If you want to be healthy, exercising is a must. You can still be fit, fabulous, and fierce without messing up that perfect coif. Here are some recommendations to do so:

· Just Walk – walking is a form of physical activity that allows you to get the benefit of being physically active without creating hair problems that occur with vigorous forms of exercise like swimming or running.
· You can accumulate 150 minutes of activity per week in 10 minute bouts to reap the benefits of exercise without sweating out your hair.
· Use a pedometer to help increase physical activity and achieve fitness goals without sweating a lot.
· Plan more vigorous walks and/or activities near the time of salon visit.
· Prevent sweat damage by controlling moisture and salt buildup.
· Use a mild, pH-balanced shampoo and a moisturizing protein conditioner at least once a week.

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