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:
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 !