“Exercise – ugh – never one of my favorite things. It wasn’t that I was endearingly clumsy like the girl in one of my favorite romance novels, nor was I particularly athletic, either. I suppose, if the truth be told, I was just plain lazy. I had never been attracted to the idea of purposely sweating. ― Lisa C. Temple, Illuminating Gracie
Sweating is a normal and healthy part of a healthy life. Damp underarms, drips on your forehead, and running down parts of your body you never knew could become dripping in sweat, are healthy. You need to sweat during exercise or hot temperatures. However, despite this, many of today’s cultures go to great lengths to avoid sweat and cover it up. Did you know sweat is water, containing lactic acid, minerals, ammonia, sugar, and urea.
Let’s take a look why the body sweats.
Regulates Body Temperature
Imagine yourself working in your garden and the temperature is over 30’s; picture yourself giving a presentation in front of a group of coworkers, you’re a bit nervous. In both situations, your body begins to sweat. Why? Because hot temperatures, fever, exercise, spicy foods, and certain emotions, stimulate sweat glands releasing sweat. As adults, we have between 2 and 5 million sweat glands in our bodies that help regulate our body temperature back to a normal state. Our sweat evaporates off the skin, and cools our internal body temperature.
Improves Your Health
Sweating causes an increase in heart rate, breathing, circulation, and metabolism, as your body works to cool itself down. Sweating opens your pores, releasing dirt, and toxins from your body. Did you know regular sweating will improve the texture and appearance of your skin (think steam rooms, saunas, and bathhouses)?
Did you know when your body is warm and sweating, more white blood cells are produced, creating a stronger, healthier, immune system. Sweating helps you shed pounds; not to confuse you as sweat is mostly water, but the activities that generate sweat will burn calories; the work it takes your body to regulate its temperature also burns a few calories.
Too Much or Too Little Sweat
If your goal is trying to shed a few pounds, you need to sweat! Sweating while exercising is a sign you’re working hard enough to burn calories and shed extra pounds.
Anhidrosis: not sweating while pushing yourself during exercise, or being exposed to high temperatures—an inability to sweat normally. This is a dangerous condition, and can lead to overheating, rash, dizziness, or fainting. See your doctor if you’re concerned about not sweating.
Please note, however, that not sweating isn’t always a problem as some people naturally have fewer sweat glands and therefore sweat less.
Hyperhidrosis: when your body sweats more than it needs to, and affects about 3% of adults. It can be hard to diagnose, but you’ll know if you sweat more than your friends and family. Not typically a serious medical issue, medical conditions that contribute to excessive sweating include thyroid problems, diabetes, hormonal changes such as menopause and pregnancy, stroke, cancer, heart failure, or alcoholism. Certain medications can also cause abnormal amounts of sweat. If excessive sweating is interfering with your quality of life, make an appointment to see your doctor.
Now, you may be someone who does not like to sweat. Personally, I always refer to it as my natural beautifying function. I base my workouts on the amount of sweat I am producing. I love the feeling of sweat running down my whole body; only then do I know I’ve had a good workout. Stop plugging up your body, your sweat glands, your body will thank you for it!