Health is becoming a huge concern for everyone right now, across the board. Obesity rates are rising, people aren’t eating as healthy as in previous years, and these bad habits are being passed down to our children.

Worse still, studies show that African American women are among the largest group suffering from inadequate exercise. The reason? Fear of “sweating out” their curly hair.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

The Reasoning Behind the Fear

Let’s be honest, curly hair can be really hard to manage and take care of. We spend lots of time and money on creating the looks that make us feel good. So, whenever it comes to adding exercise to our daily routine, we start with, “I can’t exercise today because I just got my hair done.”

If that doesn't work, we conjure up other excuses revolving around the current demand of women in our society. We are expected to take care of the home, family, work, and exercise? This can seem quite overwhelming, but balance and time management is everything. Putting our health on the back burner now is only going to negatively affect us in the long run.

The Cold, Hard Truth

Shocking Statistics

According to Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, nearly 50 percent of black women over age 20 are overweight or obese, compared with 33 percent of white women and 43 percent of Hispanic women.

If that isn’t a wake-up call, then I don’t know what is.

In addition, research was recently conducted at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina that sampled 103 local black women, one third of whom blamed their kinky and curly hair for the fact that they are overweight and not hitting the gym.

Interestingly, many of the female doctors who assisted in different types of research regarding this issue are African American themselves and deal with the same issues.

”Being an African-American woman myself, I have to go through those same trials and tribulations when I exercise," said Dr. Amy McMichael, a dermatologist who led the research being conducted at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. "So I started to realize that this is probably a barrier for many women.”

This is a cycle that we need to change. Putting one foot in front of the other and becoming active and involved is the only way that we are going to change these statistics.

Let Yourself Have a Bad Hair Day

Overcoming the Fear

Dr. Benjamin recently released a message to all women concerning this issue: It’s OK to have a bad hair day.

We need to realize that looks aren’t everything, and that our health needs to be a priority. Breaking this bad cycle can be difficult, but we need to come together as women and figure out what works best for us. Whether it is working out in smaller increments on a daily basis, working out before bed, coordinating our gym days with the days we wash our hair, or even going out and trying out a new curly hair style that's gym friendly.

Take Home Points

  • Finding the right balance in this situation is key.
  • Regular exercise must be integrated into our regular routines so that it becomes a part of our lives.
  • Days at the gym can no longer be avoided, and are essential to our overall well being.

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