An alarming trend is causing the Surgeon General to warn women to put fitness above beauty.
Have you ever considered working out but decided against it because of the possibility that it would mess up your 'do? If this sounds like you, take note: there is a trend among women with relaxed hair to entirely forego a much-needed trip to the gym for a number of reasons.
Beauty Over Health
Some women reason that busting a sweat is a waste of the hard-earned dollars they spent on securing the sleek, straightened look of relaxed hair. This issue has even been brought to the forefront by the surgeon general showing that avoiding exercise in the name of beauty may be a bigger problem than some might have imagined.
In an August interview with CNN, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin called for women to focus on their health instead of their hair. Dr. Benjamin, an African American woman herself with relaxed hair, mentions that “unlike other races and ethnic groups, African Americans can't just wash [our] hair and go out.” She acknowledges that “we need to spend a little bit more time on our hair.”
What that means is that activities which jeopardize the appearance of relaxed hair lead to even more time spent in restyling. For most women, squeezing in a workout is difficult enough. Add the time it takes to entirely restyle your hair, and you can see why more and more women are choosing cute over cardio.
Facing the Facts
The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention recommends a minimum of 150 minutes a week or 20 minutes per day of moderate to intense exercise A recent study performed by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina found that one third of 103 local black women chose not to exercise in favor of maintaining their coifs. About 88 percent of them did not meet the suggested fitness guidelines for physical activity suggested by the CDCP.
The New York Times also released an article echoing the same sentiment that included details of the surgeon general’s fitness initiatives, including reports on tobacco, a replacement for the food pyramid and improved fitness.
Dr. Benjamin also brings to light the misconception that this issue only occurs within the African American communities. Although black women as a group have more occurrences of being overweight, Dr. Benjamin has encountered this behavior among other ethnic groups as well.
Changing Bad Habits
As more and more attention is given to the topic, more and more women will have to face the fact that their health is more important than their relaxed hair. The first step is changing bad habits that prohibit us from making informed choices based on priorities. Perhaps some of those women with relaxed hair should consider working with what they've got on their heads naturally – like us!