Going for a drink after work, feeling tired and forgetting your trainers are just some of the common reasons for avoiding the gym.Now scientists have found hair care is another major barrier to working out.
A study of women from North Carolina revealed 40% admitted to avoiding exercise because they didn’t want to ruin their hair-dos.Research leader Amy McMichael, from Wake Forest University, said she had struggled to go to the gym without ruining her hairstyle.
“As an African-American woman, I have that problem, and my friends have that problem. So I wondered if my patients had that problem,” she said. To find out if women were putting hair above their health, the team surveyed 103 black women who came to the dermatology clinic at Wake Forest University in October 2012.
They found that more than half of the women were exercising for less than 75 minutes per week —instead of the recommended 150 minutes. One in four admitted to doing no exercise at all. Those who avoided exercise because of their hair were almost three times less likely to meet the recommended physical activity guidelines McMichael, who published the findings in the Archives of Dermatology on Monday, said hair care could be tedious and costly for African-American women.
Hair straightening costs around US$40 in Harlem, New York, and is often part of a weekly routine. Women may not want to wash their hair more than once a week to keep their hairstyle, and may avoid sweating as a result. The survey only looked at black women so it is not yet known if the issue is shared by all women.
Salon owner Rochelle Mosley said some women schedu-led their appointments around their gym visits, but she also tries to find a hairstyle that will work with physical activity. “If you don’t have a healthy body, then you aren’t going to have any hair to fix,” she said.