This weekend I went swimming. I always tend to suddenly want to start swimming just as the rainy season begins when for the past few months I have wasted the opportunity of endless sunny days. And I did that thing a lot of black women do in the pool. I didn’t really swim, I just walked around the shallow end, pretending to flap my arms around and stayed well away from the splashers (my
children). It’s a good thing they knew how to swim because I had an event that night and didn’t plan on getting my hair wet for Jesus let alone my children.

All was well. I made it out the pool, my pressed hair unscathed and that evening took the perfect selfie. I’m sure a lot of you reading this can identify with this scenario (and not just black women of course) but are our issues with our hair actually deadly? Black women more likely to be obese than women from other ethnic groups, to have fibroids (aggravated by weight gain), to suffer plus-size pregnancy-related deaths and to have higher blood pressure. We also have more stress. We should be working out more than other ethnicities to compensate but sadly we actually work out less and a lot of the reason is that we worry about our hair.

A study published in the Archives of Dermatology found that two out of five African-American women avoid exercising because they’re worried about their hair and even the study’s senior researcher Dr. Amy McMichael, said she did too. But these same women were less likely to meet the recommended guidelines for physical wellness leading to the problems mentioned above. It’s no small matter. Nigerian long jumper Blessing Okagbere hilariously lost her hair and her ranking while competing abroad and American Gabby Douglas was ridiculed for her unkempt hair while winning Olympic gold.

Blessing Okagbere

Our standards are high and our hairstyles are often labour-intensive, time-consuming and expensive so it’s understandable we don’t want to mess them up. However, the cost to our health is much, much more. We need to priorities our wellness and make sure we are getting enough exercise, even if it means our hair isn’t ‘packed’ to perfection.

It’s important that we seek ways to style our hair that will still allow us to be healthy. Take your inspiration from black female athletes like Serena Williams. Other ways to keep your hairstyle intact while breaking a sweat are; natural hairstyles or braids
hair scarf or wrap wearing wigs topknots

Can you think of any more? Remember if you don’t look after your health, your hair will be the least of your worries.

Now let’s get back to business with this week’s Move of the Week: Standing Abs.