There are numerous benefits to be reaped from a regular exercise regimen. Besides protecting your heart from various diseases, exercise is also good when you have high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and back pain, among other medical conditions. Some people keep off from exercise because their hair gets wet from sweat and becomes difficult to manage. As you reap the benefits of exercise, we tell you how to also keep your hair in tip-top condition.

Choose an appropriate hairstyle. It is important to have an easy, workout friendly hairstyle when you are active. Braided or plaited hair, for example, is easier to maintain when you exercise regularly. However, braided hair cannot last for long because of the sweating that comes with exercising. The braids tend to loose their lustre quickly and can also accumulate dirt and if not washed often become smelly. You therefore need to replace the braids regularly.

If you have long open hair, the best solution is to hold it in a bun when exercising to avoid contact with sweat on your face or neck. This is because hair frizzes when it comes into contact with sweat. Ensure you also tie your hair loosely to avoid thinning and breaking.  In addition ensure to wash, condition and treat it regularly. For short open hair, simply comb it backwards away from your face.

Protect your hair. It is important to keep sweat away from your hair by covering the hairline with a sweatband. Sweat has salt particles that may lead to excessive drying of both the scalp and the hair. Get a hair band made of materials such as cotton, which can absorb the sweat. Alternatively you can use a light headscarf made of absorbent material.

If possible, try to exercise in an air-conditioned or well-ventilated room. If you are working out at home, ensure the windows and door are open and if you have a fan you could also use it to cool the room. For those who like outdoor exercises, the best time to do it is early in the morning or in the evening when it is much cooler and you are likely not to sweat much.

Cover your hair when swimming. Wearing a swimming cap minimises exposure of hair to harsh pool chemicals. However, it doesn’t protect your hair from getting wet, as water will still get into your hair from the edges of the cap. The real purpose of a swimming cap is not to protect your hair from water but to keep it out of your face while protecting it from harsh pool chemicals. It also helps you retain body heat.

The only way to keep your hair dry is not to swim but this defeats your fitness goal, as swimming is one of the best exercises. To offer your hair protection from pool chemicals, wet your hair before you get into the pool as this minimises the amount of chlorinated water that your hair will absorb if it is already wet.

After swimming, shampoo your hair to remove the chlorine and then condition it to minimize damage. You can also use a shampoo that is specially formulated to counter the effects of chlorine. A leave-in conditioner will give added benefits. Don’t forget to oil the scalp.

Visit the salon after workouts. It is uneconomical to go to the gym or to take a swim after visiting a hairdresser and getting an elegant hairstyle. Exercise before going to the salon and if your exercise routine is not daily, choose to go to the salon on the days when you will not be exercising so as to enjoy your hairstyle for a longer time. If you want to maintain your hairstyle and exercise at the same time, choose a routine that helps to burn calories without too much sweating such as walking.

Published on June 2013