At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious link between exercise and hair growth. However, hair care goes beyond the oils, creams and the products you use.
Your fitness level and what you eat have a major influence on the health of your hair.
The state of your hair is often a reflection of your general health, which in turn depends a lot on your fitness and diet.
If your hair is dull and weak, it could indicate poor health. Poor fitness can also cause or worsen non-genetic hair loss.
If you want your hair to enjoy good hair growth, include regular exercise in your hair care regimen.
Cardio is great for blood circulation
To be clear, poor blood flow is likely not a cause of hair loss. Instead, it’s one of the symptoms. As you lose hair, less blood flows to your scalp since less of it is needed.
This dooms any chances of your hair growing back. This is where improving blood circulation can help.
It triggers dormant hair follicles to start growing again, which helps quicken hair growth.
The popular hair loss medication, Minoxidil, works the same way.
Exercise will likely works slower than a drug but it’ll help especially when you combine it with proper hair care and a healthy diet.
Cardio exercise is the best way to increase blood circulation.
Go for a jog, ride a bike, enjoy a vigorous dance session, do some rope skipping – any 15-30 minute intensive activity that gets your heartrate up will do.
Regular exercise protects hair follicles from oxidative stress
Interestingly, exercise can produce free radicals that are bad for your hair. But it’s only temporary.
In the long term, it has the opposite effect – it increases the production of antioxidants that counter the damage caused by free radicals.
This damage is called oxidative stress and is a proven cause of hair loss.
Physical inactivity is one of the causes of oxidative stress. Others include a poor diet, high stress levels and environmental pollution.
Working out regularly helps your body keep up with free radicals in the body. This protects your hair follicles from damage, allowing your hair to grow normally and slowing down hair loss.
In contrast to what most people think, antioxidants don’t just come from what we eat. Exercise is essential too for your health as well as hair growth.
Exercise and yoga reduce stress
As I’ve mentioned, sustained high levels of stress and anxiety can cause or quicken hair loss because of oxidative stress.
Severe stress can also cause hair follicles to go into a resting face, which stops hair growth. It can also lead to the immune system attacking hair follicles, causing hair loss.
Exercise is a highly effective way of reducing stress levels.
It works partly by triggering the production of endorphins, chemicals that reduce stress, cause a feeling of euphoria and even reduce pain.
You can take a daily walk, go jogging or whatever other form of moderate to intensive exercise you prefer.
Yoga helps too. Many people find that it helps them calm down and reduce anxiety.
You can combine yoga and meditation for a bigger stress-lowering effect.
Lowering stress levels results in many other benefits that support hair growth – you’ll sleep better, you eat better, you’ll have better blood circulation and so on.
Excessive exercise can cause/worsen hair loss
Remember what I said about exercise causing temporary oxidative stress?
Well, if you exercise excessively often, the oxidative stress can become too much for your body to handle.
Normally, your body recovers and produces plenty of antioxidants after a workout. But repeated sessions of long intensive workouts can impair the body’s ability to counter the damaging effect of free radicals.
This can cause or worsen hair loss.
Too much exercise also puts the body in a constant state of stress – what’s known as chronic stress.
As we’ve already discussed, high stress levels are bad for your hair.
As you add exercise to your hair care routine, don’t go overboard.
NHS recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activities each week and strength-training sessions twice a week.
That’s enough to enjoy all the hair-growth benefits of exercise, so that you don’t need to buy more of your favourite hair loss preventing products.