Saturday, March 26, 2011

Does Excercising Take a Back Seat To the Unnatural Do?

     It ia hard to believe, but the issue of hair for Black women often leads to exercise taking a back seat to unnatural  hair styles, namely perms, pressing, weaves and beyond.  Maxine Leeds Craig in her book entitled Ain't I a Beauty Queen (pg. 27), discusses one of the steps taken to maintain the eurocentric ideal of straight hair:

"No contact with moisture or straightening would be gone (used plastic rain scarves, no swimming, washed hair every two weeks), “You know the bane of all little black girls is the water”

 In describing black women's dilemma about hair vs. exercise, the following was stated in a recent article in the Miami Herald:

"She found herself facing a dilemma common to African-American women: Her expensive, time-consuming hairstyle was at odds with her fitness routine. It’s a juncture where First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” mantra collides with the cultural ideal documented in Chris Rock’s 2009 film Good Hair."

For a video which provides more detail on this issue and to read more, visit:

     My solution to this situation is simple as I have found that exercise is another reason that Natural is Cool Enough.  I have no concerns with moisture, rain, sweat from exercising, etc., as it relates to my hair, as  I embrace my natural hair texture.  I have no qualms with kink because I believe that as my hair emerges from the follicles in its natural, curly, kinky tecture, it is beautiful!  I love the fact that when I go to the gym after a vigorous swim or work out on the treadmill, or whatever exercise I choose, after washing my hair following my workout (when I want to wash my hair after working out as it is not always imperative), I don't need to plug anything into the wall to deal with my  hair. I don't need a blow dryer or curling iron, chemicals in spray bottles, etc.  If the electricity goes off, there is no panic for me because I can't  blow dry, use a flat iron or  curling iron.  I can still walk out of the locker room rocking my natural hair with pride.  I exercise, shower, wash my hair if I plan to do so that day, pull my shea butter out of my cosmetic bag, twist my locks that are in need of twisting, brush my hair a bit with a soft bristled brush and organize my locks in the style of the day and move on.  My only concern, since I love to swim, is the impact of chlorine on my hair in the swimming pool.  I try to minimize the effect by conditioning, wearing a swimming cap and varying my workout so that swimming in a chlorinated pool is not my only option, although swimming laps is my favorite exercise. 
     So, another thing that is absolutely wonderful about  natural hair...Exercise never has to take a back seat to your Natural do.  That's N.I.C.E !


Zee said...

Have you tried a swimmer's shampoo? I have read that a regular shampoo will not clarify or remove chlorine. I have heard good things about the Aubrey Organics swimmer shampoo but I'm sure there are cheaper ones out there as well.

Yet another reason to go natural :)

Dr. Patti Rose said...

Yes. I have tried Aubrey Organics Swimmer shampoo and conditioner. Good stuff! I also always wear a swimming cap (Speedo) although my hair still gets wet. I also add conditioner before I put on the cap, wash my hair after and then I use shea butter. This helps but for the most part, chlorine is rough on the locks. It's great exercise though so I just keep it all balanced. I am taking ballroom dance lessons this summers so that adds another form of exercise to my repertoire and my tresses can just be free to flow with the dancing:-)