Beautiful Hair for Powerful Athletes   Leave a comment

HairArticles hit the ‘Net a couple years back that claimed “ethnic” women avoided exercising because of their hair.    Most web sites and news outlets did not include tips on dealing with fitness hair or they had one answer: cut it short.  Many women still consider long, lush hair to be the literal crowning glory at the top of their beautiful bodies so cutting it isn’t an option.  For fit women, who have been called manish or had their sexuality questioned, long, sexy hair is a way to proclaim their femininty or sexuality (although to be clear, hair length and beauty have nothing to do with sexuality).   Do women really have the stark choice of pretty hair or fit physique?  Let’s look at tips to keep those locks luscious.

We all have different hair.  Fine, thin hair can be as challenging as thick curly hair and straight coarse hair.  Sweat is salty and frequent washing and blow dries damage finer hair.  Thick hair that requires a long style appointment can also get dried out from the frequent sweat-wash cycle.  Some people have such long, thick hair that it requires 45 minutes to blow dry.  Chlorine can be very damaging to all hair but will discolor blonde hair.  For some people, these challenges may be enough to keep them out of the gym so lets cover alternatives to keeping hair healthy.

Reducing shampoo frequency will cut the damage hair suffers.  Try washing your hair only two or three times per week, which is as frequent as you should, whether your work out or not.

Shorter, more natural hair styles definitely will make it easier to stay on the stability ball.  They are more wash and go, damage is cut out more quickly, and it takes less time to style.  However, for the women who need to maintain longer or more complicated hair styles, short just isn’t an answer.

Wise use of recovery days is the next best option.  I wash my hair after my sweat-drenching workouts, then take a recovery day.  A similar approach is to wash after high intensity cardio class and use the next day for lower intensity strength training or restorative exercise like yoga or walking.  Hitting cardio hard five days a week?  Try switching it up for lower intensity cardio.  After all, most of your cardio should be 70 to 80 percent of your workout should be in heart rate zone 1, less than 10% in zone 2, and 10 to 20 percent in zone 3.

Dry shampoo is back and more convenient than ever.  The canister of powder has been replaced by spray.  Spray into the roots, massage, and go.  Who wouldn’t want a head massage?  Instantly give yourself another day without washing.  I don’t use my spray shampoo when I’m super sweaty but instead reserve it for days when I need a light touch-up.

Sweat bands and hats can help absorb sweat when it appears and minimize its damage on your hair.  Braids and pony tails can keep hair from tangling.  A spritz from hair detangler can help detangle hair after the fact.  There are many products to help style and protect your style.  Many products, however, may increase hair problems in the long term so use them carefully.

Blonde swimmer?  Look for salt water pools (which may be damaging but won’t turn your hair green).  Pools cleaned with ultraviolet may also accomodate your mermaid side.

Let’s not forget that beauty does come from within.  Healthy, gorgeous hair isn’t possible without a healthy diet and lifestyle.  Eat a balanced, varied diet and your hair will be stronger, better moisturized, and easier to keep healthy.

Beautiful hair doesn’t exclude a fit body.  It may require a little extra planning or work and it may require a change in your ideal hair style.   What do you do to keep your hair healthy and your workouts on track?

Posted May 24, 2013 by MarilynB in Exercise, Fitness, Hacks

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