Understanding Sweat: The Truth Behind Our Workouts
Photo by Reebok Women
How much we sweat tells us a lot about our bodies, but the amount we sweat is not a good indicator of how hard we worked out. Sweating is our body’s natural way of cooling down our core temperature. Different activities and intensities of practice change our internal temperature at varying rates. The heat we generate needs to be released and is exuded from our pores, this process is what we refer to as sweat. There are many myths floating around related to sweating and working out, here are some facts that will prove these misconceptions wrong.
Deodorant ads and tabloids often claim that sweating is an undesirable bodily function and that sweating more means we are out of shape. Both statements are inaccurate. As a matter of fact, the fitter we become the more we sweat! Some of us may sweat more than others right off the bat and other individuals may only sweat a little. The amount of sweat is unique to each individual but it will increase when we begin to workout regularly. Our bodies will slowly begin to acclimate to prevent overheating. This means we will start sweating sooner the more fit we are because our bodies become more efficient. Although we once thought that the puddle of sweat underneath our bike after spin class meant that we were out of shape, it is possible that the opposite is true.
It’s important to understand that sweating has many variables that can often be misunderstood. The amount we sweat depends on numerous things, like: diet, clothing, climate, gender and body chemistry. The rate at which we sweat also varies, wearing clothing made of synthetic fabrics, our caffeine intake before working out, and whether we are male or female impacts how quickly we perspire.
Not all sweat is the same. In a well-ventilated room we may not notice that sweat is evaporating off our skin’s surface. No matter our fitness level, sweat does not indicate how hard we worked out. Don’t think that more sweat = more calories burned, it isn’t true!
The media message we frequently receive is that sweat is something we should be ashamed of, that isn’t the case. After a workout embrace the sweat, our bodies benefit from it! Sweating opens our pores and releases the build up of bacteria, helping to remove zits and blemishes. It can also release other toxins that are trapped in our body, such as alcohol, cholesterol, and excess salt. Sweating can, in fact, be a sign of strength and has plenty benefits of its own. With all of the good that comes from sweating, it’s important to nourish and hydrate our bodies after a solid workout. Keep in mind that when we sweat we are also losing electrolytes and they need to be replaced with water and minerals so that we don’t become dehydrated. Time to break out a wicking towel, grab a bottle of water, and get our sweat on!