London: Slow metabolism, age and bad genes are often blamed for those expanding thighs and tummies. But, the real obstacle in shedding those extra kilos could be your high-maintenance hairstyle, scientists say.
   
Women who spend hours attached to their straighteners are less likely to exercise than their low-maintenance peers, a top America's doctor has warned.
   
According to Regina Benjamin, the US Surgeon General, too many women are foregoing physical activity because it will ruin their hair.
   
"Often you get women saying, 'I can't exercise today because I don't want to sweat my hair back or get my hair wet'," Dr Benjamin said.
   
"When you're starting to exercise, you look for reasons not to, and sometimes the hair is one of those reasons. I hate to use the word 'excuse', but that's one of them," she said.
   
The problem, Dr Benjamin said, is that many women invest considerable time and money in taming their hair. Motion and moisture can undo all their hard work, so some simply avoid physical exertion entirely.
   
Daniel Caceres, of Trevor Sorbie salons, said: "It's an extremely common problem. If you have long hair and it's on your face it's going to get sweaty when you go to the gym, which can put people off.”
   
"And if you normally blow dry your hair you don't want to pull it back because it will ruin the style."
   
Dr Emma Williams, of the British Nutrition Foundation, said the solution is to pick a form of exercise that doesn't involve getting too hot and sweaty, such as doing household chores or going for a brisk walk.

(Agencies)