Skip to main content

Does a Healthy Body Really Equal Long, Healthy Hair?

Avatar • Nov 18, 2014

exercise natural-hair

Source

We often talk about hair as a fiber and how it can be handled and maintained to be able to achieve long hair. Less often, you will hear people talk about the contribution of exercise and clean eating makes to stronger, longer hair. Do you need to be a gym bunny to make your hair progress?

There are several reasons why the proponents of whole body health would advocate for its inclusion in the quest for longer hair and these can be equally challenged by those who believe that longer hair is more about caring for the fiber. Here is the debate with the case for whole body health against that for long hair being about the fiber:

General Wellbeing

Beyond hair, being healthy is beneficial to you and may impact how long and how well you live.

Let me be honest, the case for whole body health cannot logically be argued against.

Hair Growth Rate

While you might not be able to change your hair growth rate, it is possible that the vitamins and minerals present when a healthy diet is followed, are able to allow you maximise your natural hair growth rate.

The Case of the Unicorns: We are all likely to know that girl who does not eat well, hardly exercises and yet is able to grow her hair very easily. Essentially as long as you are eating enough food and there is protein in your diet, your hair is highly likely to grow as normal.

Blood Circulation

Regular exercise may improve blood circulation and allow the vitamins and minerals discussed previously to travel to the scalp where they are needed.

As blood is constantly flowing though our bodies, even without exercise, we should be able to transport the vitamins and minerals from the diet to wherever they are needed.

Understanding Hair

A regular exercise routine may encourage you to understand and maintain your hair well as the regular sweating and washing will require you to develop the necessary skills to protect the hair from breakage.

The visible part of hair is dead. We cannot adjust it with diet or exercise. In order to gain length, we need to protect this visible part of hair from breakage and therefore understanding how to care for the fiber is important.

Stress, Exercise and Hair

Some people experience more hair loss or breakage during periods of high stress. Regular exercise is known to have a positive impact on blood pressure and mood which could help manage stress.

While the role of stress having a physiological impact such as hair loss is increasingly being studied by scientists, it is also possible that during periods of high stress, hair does take a backseat. The lack of care to the fiber may then result in breakage.

Eating Disorders

Although it is common to talk about a poor diet and exercise routine leading to weight gain, it is well documented that eating disorders such as anorexia and the lack of nutrition can lead to severe hair loss.

It is definitely true that eating disorders can result in malnutrition and therefore lead to hair loss. However, the case is less clear for a person who has an unhealthy diet e.g excessive sugar/fat or low intake of fruits/vegetables. In general, significant hair loss or low growth is not normally seen except for malnutrition and this points us in the direction once more that as long as food is eaten and there is protein in the diet, hair will grow.

Conclusion
In my view, whole body health is hugely important but less for hair reasons and more for your quality of life. It has a role in hair growth but maintaining hair length is really about understanding your hair’s capabilities as a fiber. I would not trade one for the other though, whole body health matters and if you are on a quest for long hair then knowledge of the fiber matters.

What is your view?

 

Sources for this article
Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2004: 123, 455–457
Sports Med. 2000;30(3):193–206
Clin Exp Dermatol. 2002 ;27(5):396–404

Avatar

About The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
13 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
paleo
paleo
5 years ago

According to CDC, 80% of black women are either overweight or obese. How depressing is that! This article, unfortunately doesn’t help, even though it’s true that you don’t have to be a healthy weight to have long hair,eg Oprah. I think the problem lies in that it’s become part of the culture. Overweight is redefined as curvy and a general acceptance is predominant. I’m curious as to whether the overweight/obesity rates are lower among naturals. I don’t think it’s significantly lower though, based on my observations.

hm
hm
5 years ago
Reply to  paleo

I think American studies, stereotypes etc fail to realize black people exist outside of America. I think most “black studies” (and pretty much anything black related ) only focus on African Americans, forgetting black people exist outside of America and we dont fall under American stereotypes.

I live in a predominately black country and yes there are fat people but no where near 80%.

paleo
paleo
5 years ago
Reply to  hm

The CDC stats are obviously referring to US. African women however are not far behind, with SA in the lead.

Jc
Jc
5 years ago
Reply to  paleo

The article was originally written as a debate, with view points both for and against the argument with the idea that you as the reader can make up your own mind. CDC figures are based on BMI. BMI is a fairly arbitrary number that was defined in the 1800’s. Current science is showing how BMI is not a suitable measure for many people as it does not account for people who are muscular (typical of people of African origin) and further statistically people who are classed as overweight have similar risks to people who are classified as normal leading the… Read more »

Dananana
Dananana
5 years ago
Reply to  paleo

While, there’s no denying that healthy weight is an issue for Black American women, please consider that the CDC’s statistics are based on European standards and BMI, an arbitrary measure developed by an insurance professional that tends to be inaccurate for people of African descent, Polynesian descent, or anyone with a decent amount of muscle mass. Also consider that obesity and its associated health issues have been linked to poverty and lack of education in multiple studies–institutionalized structures that really where the problem lies. My point is that we should be focusing on healthy eating and living regardless of weight,… Read more »

Aliyah Morrison
Aliyah Morrison
5 years ago
Reply to  paleo

I’m skinny and I’m a black woman but I’m getting this weight gained syrup so I can be a perfect average weight also my cousin is slim my grandma is in shape and I have skinny friends that are black so no not all black woman are fat ,

vipa
vipa
5 years ago

Obviously not all black women are fat. That should go without saying. And no where in this article stated that all black women are fat.

melyssa
melyssa
5 years ago
Reply to  paleo

Yes too many American black women have fallen into the I’m not fat I’m curvy mode.

vipa
vipa
5 years ago

@Paleo: Very sad, but so true. I see a lot of overweight ladies with beautiful healthy hair, especially on youtube. But there is hope. I honestly believe that something as simple as accepting your hair for what it is and learning how to care for your hair can spill into other areas in life. Which will hopefully encourage one to realize a healthy mind equals a healthy life overall. It’s a mindset.

vipa
vipa
5 years ago
Reply to  vipa

And when I say overweight, I mean obesity, or to the point where one’s weight becomes unhealthy.

Jacky
Jacky
5 years ago

Nice article!

I agree with the points stated. I exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet and I know that this is beneficial to my overall health, not just my hair.

Cygnet
Cygnet
5 years ago

I have had long stretches of time when I went to the gym faithfully and exercised with both cardio and weight-training, and I have had long stretches where I didn’t go to the gym or do any exercise at all. I benefitted overall from the exercise to some degree, but the most the most beneficial thing for my hair was me finally learning how to give it the moisture it needed while avoiding trauma to it. For me, that meant following the CG method and getting it thoroughly wet 1–2 times a week.

O
O
5 years ago
Reply to  Cygnet

So you don’t care about your general health?

One thing that helped me stay natural was that natural hair made it easier for me to exercise.

13
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Shopping Cart