Updated: Feb 7
Regular exercise and a balanced diet are known to keep your body and hair healthy. However, some reports link too much exercise to hair loss. Well, I'm sure you are wondering how something that offers health benefits to your body could be unhealthy for your hair. But before we get down to how the two are linked, let's first look at how exercise complements your hair wellness routine.
Health Benefits of Exercising Regularly for Your Hair
Exercising regularly is known to improve blood circulation to the scalp. This helps nourish the hair follicles with oxygen, keeping your hair healthy.
Better still, regular exercise helps your body fight stress which helps the body function normally, including supplying the hair with healthy nutrients. However, some evidence has shown that too much exercise can cause hair loss. And below is a lowdown of how exercise contributes to hair loss.
Exercising for Extended Period
While what we consider too much exercise varies from person to person, here we are looking at more than 3 hours of exercise a day. Excessive exercise over long periods can lead to chronic stress, leading to telogen effluvium.
This is a condition that causes rapid hair loss as a result of stressful activity, often at the top of the scalp. The good news is, telogen effluvium is temporary, and your hair will regrow once the causative factor of the stress is eliminated, in this case, by reducing gym-related stress.
Lifting Heavy Weights
Excessive weight lifting causes an increase in testosterone levels in the body. This causes an increase in dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes hair follicles to shrink for those genetically predisposed, hence causing hair thinning and delaying hair growth.
Bodybuilding often comes with intense supplementation. According to experts, supplements containing too much Vitamin A and E could contribute to hair loss. Most supplements contain creatine and DHEA, which also increase testosterone levels. Increased testosterone levels weaken the hair follicles, which in turn leads to hair loss.
Too much exercise causes excessive sweating. While the connection between sweating and hair loss may seem like a reach, studies have shown that sweat build-up on the scalp can clog and potentially damage hair follicles, disrupting hair growth. Too much sweat also causes hair to dry due to too much salt content, which contributes to hair breakage.
Ensuring that you wash your hair after every workout is important to combat hair loss caused by clogged pores. However, remember that overly washed hair becomes dry and brittle and may shed easily.
For most people looking to lose weight, excessive exercising is normally coupled with dieting. When the right balance is not achieved with the diet, this can contribute to hair loss.
When you exercise too much, your body burns more fat and carbohydrates. If your diet is poor, then hair loss may also occur as your body is pushed to chronic stress levels by the exercises.
A well-balanced diet is essential in preventing hair loss. Diets rich in minerals and vitamins can help promote hair growth. For men predisposed to balding, taking protein shakes containing hormones while exercising could lead to hair loss. Instead, take proteins that are more naturally occurring, like fish and eggs.
Your hair is a reflection of the state of health your body is in. It is important to remember that starting an intense workout routine today may not necessarily be the cause of your hair loss. However, prolonged periods of over-supplementation, poor nutrition, and too much exercise could cause hair loss. Striking a balance can help you achieve the hair of your dreams.