...how about both? For years I put my hair above my health...trying to adapt my workout schedule around hairdos. Well, no more! Some might think this a frivolous post, but truth is there are lots of things that perfectly coifed hair hinders Black women from doing--working out, swimming, and sometimes (so I've heard) having sex. Black women are also disproportionately suffering from disease—hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol, breast cancer, stress, depression, etc., etc.—most of which could be abated with regular exercise. So, hair I go...
Thanks and praise be to God, I found a way to work out my body (hard) and have not-so-perfectly coifed hair (that still looks great). The secret is a good cut. Many people associate long hair with beauty. Thankfully, I have never been that woman. I associate healthy hair with beauty. So, whether it is long or short, relaxed or natural, etc., etc., as long as it is healthy and it makes you look and feel good, then I think it is beautiful!
Admittedly, the most hair ease I felt when working out was when my hair was locked and when I used to wear it short and natural. I would be in the gym and on the track getting it in. When I relaxed my hair, my gym routine suffered. For a while, when I started running three years ago, I became the ponytail woman. For one, ponytails, especially when working out, put unnecessary tension on the hair. Secondly, and more important to me, ponytails—daily ponytails—are boooooring. And, well, I am far from boring (especially as it concerns my appearance).
When I entered Seminary I felt the pounds packing on, so I braided it up and hit the gym. Well, the reality of homework set in and my routine got jacked up. Fast forward 2 years and 40 pounds later... I made a commitment to my health, whether my hair liked it or not (btw, I'm 20 pounds lighter than I was in September). I also wanted to maintain my relaxed style, not because I have a hang-up about straight hair and beauty, but because right now I'm feeling it. In early October I went to a new stylist on a friends recommendation. This stylist is known for her wisdom, her insistence on healthy hair, and her skills with a pair of scissors. I told her I wanted my hair to be able to work while I work out. Away she went. What emerged was a cut that looks good when I do nothing to it, looks better when I do something to it, and still manages to look great when I work out.
When my workout consisted of walking only, I would wrap my hair at night, comb it down in the morning, pop on a headband, and hit the pavement. When I returned home I would let it air dry as I got ready for the day and roll out. These days, I've taken to pin curling it. Talk about a gift from God; Five days and three intense workouts after getting my hair done I have yet to use a curling iron or any other "tool of destruction" (a term my friend Shanee Yvette coined).
Here are some pics...before (aka when the hair was perfect), pin curled (my style of choice during a run), and after (letting the pin curl loose):
(Before before...aka after leaving the salon...Tuesday)
(Before...pin curled and ready to hit the pavement...Saturday)
(After...Post working out, air drying, and taking the curls out...Saturday, again)
(After after...wrapped overnight, ready to go to praise God...Sunday)