We all know that regular exercise is vital for a healthy lifestyle besides staying in shape. However, if done in excess along with a diet geared towards weight loss, it may lead to heavy hair fall too.
Recent studies, by medical professionals, focusing on hair loss indicate that high level exercise training may cause hair loss. Excessive exercise can make the body experience chronic stress conditions, which is one of the two main reasons of telogen effluvium. It is a condition in which hair follicles enter the resting phase prematurely, which causes more hair loss than usual.
The negative impact of strenuous over-exercising is more in women due to reduction in estrogen and rise in testosterone. It can disturb the menstrual cycle and lead to brittle bones.
One explanation is that women tend to be more vulnerable to shifts in hormone levels and are thus more sensitive to any testosterone-boosting activities, whether it be
exercising or otherwise.
Too much of exercise and over-training disturbs the hair growing pattern and lead to hair fall. Dr Manoj Khanna, cosmetic and hair transplant surgeon, Enhance Aesthetic and Cosmetic Studio, says any type of exercise puts the body, including hair, to stress.
“Too much of exercise results in early entry of hair into the telogen phase. When
the body is subjected to extreme stress unusually high number of hair prematurely enter a phase of rest, called the telogen phase. These hair begin to fall, causing a heavy hair fall,” he tells Metrolife.
Now the question is what is considered excess in exercise. According to experts, sleep disorders, fatigue and ineffective results are signs of over exercise.
“The body takes longer time to lose fat if one is indulging in a lot of exercise. If one experiences any of these symptoms along with more hair loss than normal, the frequency of exercise should be lessened,” says Dr Manoj.
The body burns fat and carbohydrates during work out. Therefore, an adequate diet need to be followed to prevent hair loss.
Sandhya Pandey, chief dietitian, Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon says exercising more than an hour on a daily basis without adequate diet, leads to hair fall. This is a very common problem.
“Any form of exercise – be it working out, walking, swimming or jogging, for five days a week and about 45 minutes to one hour is enough. Along with that one must consume a proper diet full of vitamins, proteins and minerals. Else it will definitely lead to hair fall,” she says.
Poor nutrition is another cause of telogen effluvium, making the hair thinner throughout the scalp.
Dermatologist, Dr Indu Tolani says, “If one is going on a weight loss programme without following a proper diet, it will tell on hair. More than excessive exercise, vitamin deficiency is a major cause behind hair loss.”