Can Exercise Help Promote Healthy Hair Growth? Here's How It Can Help

We are all too familiar with that icky feeling that comes after working out. Sure, exercising releases dopamine and, in turn, boosts your mood, but it also often leaves you feeling sticky from the tip of your toes to the roots of your hair. Gym hair is the bane of every fitness enthusiast's existence, and there are only so many ways you can protect your locks from rigorous exercising.

Hairstylists advise against washing your hair frequently, even if you engage in regular exercise, as it can lead to extra dryness. You're left with the options of either using a hairband, braiding or tying your hair, or using an assortment of hair products to alleviate the gross feeling on your scalp after hamming it out at the gym.

But while it's hard to embrace post-gym hair, exercising apparently does wonders for one's hair health. Working out may make you feel as if your head had been doused in grease, but as it turns out, it can help improve your precious tresses, too.

Inside blood circulation and hair health

One thing people tend to overlook when it comes to hair health is that blood circulation is a huge factor. Medical Health Today notes that when blood flows through your body properly, oxygen and nutrients travel around and get absorbed by the cells easily. Considering that exercise is one of the best ways to maintain healthy blood circulation, your scalp and hair follicles will get to receive all the nutrients they need when you work out, resulting in stronger, healthier locks.

Even better, exercising may even help prevent hair loss caused by stress. "When we're stressed, our adrenal glands produce this hormone called cortisol, and then the cortisone signals our hair follicles to shift from the growth phase, out of growth phase into catagen [a transition phase], and then hair will fall out," Dr. Tess Marshall explained to Well + Good. It is then recommended that you take stock of your stressors and try to incorporate more stress-reducing activities in your day-to-day, including, yes, you guessed it — exercise. Sweating it out has always been known to be a huge stress reliever thanks to its ability to boost endorphin production, so when you exercise more, you're less likely to experience what is called telogen effluvium, or stress-induced hair loss.

Scalp exercises help boost hair health, too

Apart from performing exercises that require movement of your entire body, it also helps to do scalp-specific massages to improve the state of your hair. Apparently, it can also contribute to ensuring that your hair stays thick and healthy. "Massaging, combing, brushing and using a scrub that exfoliates will unclog the hair follicles that are filled with sebum (oil), bacteria, and skin," Dr. Howard Sobel, a New York City-based dermatologic surgeon, told InStyle. "It's like exfoliating the skin on your face to remove dead skin cells." What's more, dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick explained to Women's Wear Daily that scalp massages "boost circulation and reduce tension in the scalp, which can be helpful to promote hair growth and a healthy scalp." 

If it just so happens that you don't feel like spending money on a scalp massage at the spa, or if you're not into massaging your own scalp, investing in a quality brush is a great alternative option. You'll still be doing the work yourself, but having an accessory designed for stimulating your scalp makes the process much easier. Tomoko Shima, the owner of head spa Tomoka Shima Salon, shared with Vogue that doing so "helps to stimulate the circulation of the scalp and aid in a deep pore cleansing, as well as release tension that we often store in our scalp."