Amanda with cornrowsCute, gym-ready way to preserve your stretched hairstyle.

The fall 2012 semester has just begun. As a college junior/senior, it's essential that I balance my list of responsibilities such as attending class, studying, work, internship and Bible study. Unfortunately, we can easily make excuses for neglecting our physical health to assure that our hair is moisturized, fluffy and well- styled. Here are five easy methods you can use to maintain the health and style of your tresses and without eliminating exercise.

1. Commit to a wash day and time

Most successful people share a common element: discipline. My mother always says there is power in writing. Instead of keeping a mental note to workout, actually take time to create a written schedule and commit to when you will exercise and show your hair some TLC. When I try to compile everything in my head, I find myself wasting time between class and work. That two hour conversation about all the fine boys you saw on campus could have been allocated to kickboxing and studying. If your workout is determined by when you wash your hair, or vice versa, it's probably time to invest in a planner and evaluate where your hours and minutes are going.

2. Try group fitness

Many college campuses offer group fitness classes. These are my best friends. If you don't feel encouraged to work out, take a group fitness class like Zumba. You can lose 300-800 calories an hour depending on the intensity. If your friends don't want to tag along, just go alone. This is also a great opportunity to meet new people. I went and found three fellow naturals in my class.

3. Rock a satin scarf and baseball cap

I know you do not want to flaunt the bedtime look outside your dorm, but would you rather be cute in the gym or outside the gym? By wearing a satin scarf, you prevent your body heat from activating your curls and causing frizz. If wearing a scarf in public is not an option, you could wear a hat to cover the scarf. If you are concerned about hygiene, by a scarf designated for working out.

4. Release braids or twists after showering

Going to the gym with a flat-twist out, braid out or anything "out" is not the greatest idea if you expect your hair to sustain the fresh look from when you took it down. Releasing your braids or twists after burning calories helps to maintain your style. The combination of wearing your hair loose and sweating causes your hair to revert or shrink. I understand you may not want everyone to see how you go to sleep at night, but if you want to maintain a style and sustain good health, you have to prioritize.

5. Condition length and shampoo roots

I learned this method from a few YouTube vloggers. If you're afraid of your hair drying out from the cleansing process, but don't feel that the co-wash methods releases the dirt and sweat, do both! When you wash your hair, first coat the length of in a conditioner and shampoo the roots only. After you rinse, some of the shampoo will rinse down the length of your strands without stripping.

Final Thoughts

Exercise is paramount to sustaining good health, no matter where you lie on the body mass index (BMI) chart. It also affects hair growth. Proper blood circulation is a factor in your hair's growth rate so an increased activity level is a win win. Although we connect on the common interest of hair care, we should not allow it to overshadow other areas of our lives that need equal if not more attention.