So many of us make a visit to the gym part of our routine these days, for so many good reasons. We take a closer look at the question, is my workout causing hair loss? Exploring how it can and what you can do about it.   

 

The Benefits of A Workout

The 1980s was the decade when our individual health really came to the fore. It was the decade of the VHS video recorder and when home entertainment was in its infancy. In the early part of that decade, and on the back of a bestselling book from 1979, Hollywood star Jan Fonda released her first workout video. It would be a bestseller for most of the rest of the decade. It launched an entire fashion industry of its own, popularising spandex, leotards and legwarmers. You can read more about Jane’s story here 

In the nearly forty years since a lot has changed. There is a gymnasium on just about every high street, often more than one. They appeal to men and women, old and young. Over the same period, our awareness of what we eat has also become an obsession for many. Forget for a moment that we face an obesity crisis and regular stories about serious shortcomings in our food chain. The fact is that gyms and the services they offer, from gentle stretchers to ferocious spinning classes, have never been so popular. Little wonder, the clear links between fitness and our wider health are well understood.

The widely held belief is that this is purely a positive development. The reality is that what is right for one individual might not be a good plan for someone else. Take the example of Andrew Marr. A super busy political TV presenter, Andrew Marr was a committed keep fitter. Hard at it on his rowing machine at home one Sunday he suffered a stroke. It seems the demands of the routine he had chosen was just too much for some of the fragile vessels in his brain. 

While that is an extreme example, there are more everyday concerns which we should all have at the back of our minds. If you are among the group which has hair loss in their future, which is over half of all of us, you would do well to take some advice on board. Just how can a gym workout lead to hair loss, and what can we do about it.   

Hair Loss From Working Out

So how can going to the gym cause hair loss? In a condition called telogen effluvium hair loss is caused by a shock to the system. The shock might have been caused by anything on a long list. Accidents or surgery are pretty much the same as your body is concerned. A huge release of chemicals takes place. Sometimes, as part of that reaction, the body will close down ‘non-essential’ functions. Sadly, this can include growing hair. It does this by putting as many as 70% of your follicles into their resting state. Up from the usual 15%. The difference can vary from just about noticeable to shocking. 

So while a strenuous workout is,  on the whole, a positive thing to do, it can have drawbacks. The sweat produced, along with the stress chemicals which get released, can strain the follicles. It can lead to weakened hair shafts and leave the hair in generally poor condition. 

What Can I Do?

There are simple steps to follow, that can give your hair the best chance of surviving the gym unscathed. Keeping it clean is vital. Do not skip washing your hair after a workout. It is a vital step to make sure you clear it of sweat and anything else that might be lurking on the scalp. This is doubly true if your routine involves a swim in a chemically treated pool. Chlorine is not our friend, not when it is left on our scalp at least. If you are already doing this and still think you have a problem, then a visit to a trichologist might be a good idea. There you can get your hands on a solution to reduce the sweat coming from the scalp. 

HIS Hair Clinic

It is probably best to think of your hair as a bell-weather for everything about your health. Everything we eat and do is reflected in our hair. Eat healthily and exercise regularly to give your hair its best care. Eat badly and do no exercise, it will show up. That said, it might come as s surprise to many that you can work out too hard for your hair. 

If you would like to discuss your hair loss situation with one of our friendly team of experts simply complete the contact form at the side of this page, or click here to find your nearest clinic.

 

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By Ian Watson

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