How to Work Out and Maintain Your Edges

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Black woman on treadmill

The dilemma is real. Women, especially African American women, feel some kinda way about sweating out a hairdo they pay good, hardworking dollars to maintain.

It’s hard not to sympathize. However, when hair becomes an obstacle to you getting healthy or is too often your excuse card for missing workouts, it’s time to devise a strategy.

So, how can we get around this longstanding issue?

We went to veteran professional stylist and national hair educator Toni Garcia-Jackson, owner of Bombshell Red Salon in Wilmington, Del., for some answers. Permed or natural, here’s how to get fit and stay stylish:

  • If you are wearing a free, natural hairstyle, shampoo hair with a co-wash immediately after working out to remove sweat and oil from the hair and scalp. If you’re working out 4-5 days a week, a formal shampoo and conditioner is best at least once a week.
  • Those with longer, straight tresses: Try a ponytail or bun style during your workout sessions. Wear a terry cloth, sweat-absorbing headband or experiment with a Dri Sweat Edge headband.
  • Wrap hair with a silk/satin scarf before a workout and keep in place with a velcro mesh wrap like this one from your favorite beauty supply store.  Allow hair and scalp to dry before removing mesh wrap. (Note: Watch your hairline to make sure your scarf isn’t doing any damage.)
  • Pin-curl long to medium-length hair prior to a workout and wrap hair with a large fishnet-like scarf.  After the workout, blow-dry pin curled hair through the hair net.
  • After a workout, apply a dry shampoo to hair and concentrate product closer to the scalp to absorb moisture, sweat and oils. For example, if your hair is in pin curls, remove the wrap and spray your scalp.
  • Wear protective styles. Softly twist or braid natural hair before a workout to preserve curl pattern and control frizz.
  • Lastly, if you must, be strategic the week of your hair appointment. Get your higher intensity cardio done in the days leading up to your salon appointment. Make your appointment day a rest or light workout day. The day after, focus on strength training, which still burns calories.

Choosing to skip a session at the gym, in a class or at home should not be an option. Your health and fitness goals are too important. Try some of these tips to see what works best for you!

 Question: How do you maintain your hair when you exercise?

Stacy Julien is founder and editor in-chief of CRUSH Fitness Magazine, and sweats out her dreads on a regular. Follow her on Instagram @StacyJ_CRUSHfitness. Get social with us on Facebook and Instagram!

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