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This past weekend I emceed the 14th Annual “Sister to Sister Seminar: Passport To Health” sponsored by The American Heart Association. In the next few weeks you will see a lot in this column about the seminar. However, there was something in the program that I think is one of the main reasons that Black women do not work out sufficiently, their hair.


It isn’t so easy for Black women to wash their hair while they shower and towel dry it or blow dry it and go. For the majority of African-American women doing their hair is a ritual that is better left to the professional and getting the hair wet is not a goal that we seek in between professional stylings.

Power To End Stroke realizes that the “hair thing” (my words) is a problem for a lot of people and they partnered with Krystal Landfair to give you tips on keeping your hair looking good while working out. Landfair says if you’re prone to sweating, don’t work out with your hair under a scarf or hat. These only cause more irritation to your finished results by locking in moisture, leaving your hair wet. Cotton scarves, hats, headbands, etc., can cause friction on your baseline, which over time can lead to breakage. If you use something to hold your hair in place, make sure it’s made of satin or silk. She also advises that you schedule a training session with your salon to create a style that works for your life, one that includes your workout schedule. Schedule the appointment on the last day of your workout week to allow the stylist to see your hair at its worst; they can then help you to get the most longevity from your style.

If you wear your hair in a straight style, wrapping it up with a breathable hair net will work best (so much for looking cute at the gym). This keeps your hair in place, while allowing the perspiration and heat created at the scalp area during the workout to escape. It is also best to keep your hair tied up until your scalp area has fully dried. If you wear a curlier style, pin curling your hair while you exercise and leaving them in place until your scalp dries will help your curls’ durability. If you wear hair extensions thoroughly rinse and shampoo your scalp area on the last day of your weekly workout plan. It’s more important to note that the base of your hair extensions should be completely dry before styling in any manner. If you wear your hair natural but pressed, tie a two inch wide satin band around the hairline while working out and leave it in place until the hairline dries; this will help keep that area smooth.

Landfair says hair accessories are your friend. Hats, scarves, headbands, ponytail holders, barrettes and clips can rescue and update your style after a workout. Stop fighting your hair. If it curls up after a workout, use a product that will help to enhance and manage your curl and go with it. If it falls flat, try a volumizing product to create the lift you are looking for.

Make your hair and your workout work for you. Remember, it’s about being healthy that’s what makes you beautiful.

(Email the columnist at deb­bienorrell@aol.com.)

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