African-American women cannot afford to let the excuse “I don’t want to mess up my hair” keep them from meeting the recommended guidelines for physical activity. African-American women have higher rates of being overweight compared to their peers. A main contributor is lack of exercise.
Several barriers have been cited as reasons why we do not workout including time, environment and finances. A new barrier recently researched is hair care maintenance. A survey conducted by Wake Forest University showed that 31% of the women surveyed were less active on purpose out of concern for their hair and style maintenance. This is a valid concern since African-American women spend an average of $100 on salon visits combating the negative effects sweat has on their hair.
Salt in the sweat can dry your hair and make it more fragile. In addition, applying excess heat when using hair dryers and flat irons may cause your hair to become brittle and lead to breakage. Many hair stylists believe that high heat applied to the hair should not be done several times during the week.
Below are several tips for active African-American women to protect and maintain hair before, during and after workouts.
Before the workout:
For long hair, either clip the hair off the neck, with a butterfly clip or ribbon tie. Neither method will leave indentations in your hair. Women with long or short hair can tie their hair up in a bandanna or scarf. However, this is not advised for those who sweat excessively in their head. This will cause swelling for women with natural hair and will cause the hair to feel brittle for women with relaxed hair. The bottom line is to make sure your hair is off the neck and hairline.
During the workout:
It is important to stay hydrated. Without enough water, the hair will lack moisture. For women who sweat a lot, periodically pat dry your hair to remove excess sweat.
After the workout:
For all hair types and styles, apply a small amount of leave-in moisturizer. For those who wear straight hair, after applying the moisturizer, wrap the hair and keep it tied until you are ready for styling. For curly hair styles, after moisturizing, wear a bonnet if the plan is to blow dry and style. No bonnet needed if the plan is to keep it curly.
For those who did not sweat a lot, after unwrapping the hair, finger style or flat iron with a light serum or light pomade to add moisture and shine back to your hair. For the heavy sweaters, apply a leave in thermal conditioner before blow-drying the hair on low heat. Then apply a small amount of serum before styling.
The active African-American women should wash and condition their hair weekly and deep condition bi-weekly. Let the conditioner sit on the hair for 15 minutes before rinsing. Make sure to get protein treatments and conditioning treatments by a stylist. This will help you maintain great looking hair.
Ayana Roberts, a fitness trainer, would love to give you more tips. So, if you are looking to lose weight, save money and keep your hair looking good call 404 713-4863.