“Girl, I just got my hair done. I’m not trying to sweat it out!” might be the number one excuse women of color use for not vigorously exercising. But quite frankly, there are ways around this problem if you research it.
Before you get mad at me, understand that as a loc rocker, I too suffer from the occasional fear of sweating out my coiffed hair. The common misconception is that women who wear their hair natural or loc’d can just get up, shake it and go. Not the case. It takes me close to five hours to retwist my mane. Add an additional hour if I want to style it and tack on a day or three if I want to do a braid out. So whether it’s twisted down to the scalp or crimped and curled, I have the same concerns as my relaxed and press and curl sistah friends.
I’ve also worn my hair short like Halle Berry and natural. Back in my ballet days, I favored the slicked back bun and also frequented the Dominican salons for a roller set and doobie. Basically, I’ve run the gambit when it comes to my hair. It’s been fried, dyed and laid to the side. I’ve worn tracks, the occasional wig and a few phony ponytails, all for the sake of beauty.
I get it. We spend hours under hood dryers, spend hundreds on hair care and products, sleep in silk scarves and satin caps every night so that our hair will lay just right the next day. It’s a tough job that consumes a good portion of our daily routine and I totally understand not wanting to sweat out a good flat iron. However, there are options!
YouTube has been my best friend, lover and hair confidant for years. You can look up everything on that site from work outs (check out BodyRock.tv if you’re looking for a real challenge) to learning how to yarn bomb trees to finding hair options for when you want to exercise.
One of my personal favorite videos belong to Chescalocs. I would watch her religiously to get inspiration when my locs were in the teenage stage (short, frizzy and WILD) and I wanted to hack them off. Although her hair is loc’d as well, she offers up fantabulous ideas for naturalitas. CharyJay is another natural hair diva who makes wearing your hair natural look easy and carefree.
For my relaxed lovelies, I suggest you pick a chunk of the week where you don’t mind wearing your hair in a braid out or curly (such as a rod set), that way the little sweat won’t hurt ya. Rumor has it that exercise increases circulation, thus resulting in long, luxurious locs, and decreases depression and stress which can lead to hair loss. I’m just saying, getting that heart rate up might make you look like Rapunzel. Overall health makes every facet of your existence better.
Everyday is a struggle when it comes to hair and exercise, even for me. This summer I was on strike from retwisting my locs and looked a little “special” at times. (Don’t worry. I washed my hair bi-weekly.) If I could get away with it, I’d be bald as a cue ball, but God blessed me with a head the shape of a question mark. Go figure. So I’ll conclude this with a simple question: Is your hair more important than your health and well being?
Leilah Reese is a news aide at The Washington Post. For more updates on her fitness goal of losing 32 pounds before turning 32, follow her on Twitter and check here each Tuesday for a new blog post.
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