The U.S. surgeon general is taking on a surprising new issue affecting women's health: exercise and bad hair days.
According to the current surgeon general, Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, too many women are skipping exercise out of fear of messing up their hair. And while some might find this issue slightly bizarre to be tackled at the level of the surgeon general, Benjamin takes it very seriously.
Benjamin recently spoke at the Bronner Brothers International Hair Show, a trade show in Atlanta that draws 60,000 hair stylists, about the importance of helping women look good while still finding time to partake in daily exercise. The big problem, Benjamin argues, is that women are using their hair as an excuse not to exercise. Benjamin went on to explain that many women — particularly black women, like herself — invest lots of time and money in chemical relaxers, straighteners, perms and other treatments — the effects of which become undone by sweat, humidity and wind — problems women will run into with any type of exercise.
What's the answer? Benjamin wants women to choose exercise over beautiful hair and not let their hair become an obstacle to working out. As someone whose hair routine consists of a brush and ponytail holder, I think I'm on the right track. But I can see where this would be an issue for women who might consider sneaking exercise into their daily routine except that it would take them hours to get their hair just-so. Then again, it's likely that the same women who spend a lot of time and money on their hair also spend a lot of time and money on makeup and skin lotions that could also be affected by exercise.
So maybe the real issue that Benjamin should be tackling is why women feel the need to spend so much time and money altering their appearance each day. Maybe, just maybe, if women could get to a place where their felt comfortable in their own skin — and hair — then they could ditch these obstacles to health and get their exercise in when it best fits their schedule.
And wouldn't that be a beautiful thing?