Have you ever wondered the reason behind sweating?
According to theory, our ancient ancestors believed it to be efficient in hunting. You might ask yourself what does that have to do with sweat? Without this, we wouldn’t be able to stay active and run long distances.
Sweat is more complex than just sports. We are also sweating when we are nervous, at night while we sleep even during our rest time. We sweat when we are scared; some of us have our palms just sweating during activities when we are hot and when we are not. Some of us would even say we do it even after the fact that we just showered.
What causes us to sweat during and, for some even after, our workouts?
If we stay fit and do all the right things you would think we would sweat less… So what is really the science behind it? Let’s look at the reasons behind it; whether it releases toxins & proves you’re working out hard… Let’s walk through some answers to this basic but important phenomenon.
A person’s internal body temperature is said to be generally around 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Usually, anything above would be considered a fever in which bad things can happen health-wise. As soon as your body’s temperature rises, your hypothalamus sends instructions for your body to tell your eccrine sweat glands to start distribution to regulate the temperature to cool you down by producing sweat. The process begins with your sweat evaporating off the energy (heat) to convert beads of sweat into vapor to cool you down.
When it comes to being nervous or in a stressful situation, you might find yourself with sweaty palms and underarms that begin to sweat. This is what is known as “emotional sweating” but isn’t the same kind of sweating that is experienced with cooling down. This is associated with a different sweat gland. It is part of your flight or fight response; this response can be traced back to our ancestors that were part of their survival instinct.
A question that I get often is: can I sweat out toxins?
If I have a cold can I, sweat it out? The short answer is yes and no. Although we do sweat out some toxins research from Universidad Camila Jose Cela in Spain, has found that the toxins we lose are not enough to have a measurable benefit. If your body needs to get rid of something, it is usually pushed through your kidney to flush out your urine later.
We often sweat even after our shower, which many times can be annoying and uncomfortable because it feels like it defeats the purpose.
The truth is that your body temperature during a workout tells your body to sweat in order to help you cool down. After you finish your workout, it will take a couple of minutes for your heart to slow down, and it takes your body a few minutes for your body temperature to fully cool down. This is why when you are in a rush in the morning and jump directly to take that shower before the cool down, you will feel the sweating will continue.
Many of you just starting your fitness journey and may be asking: why do I sweat if I feel that I am getting into better shape?
The main two reasons, why we sweat as we get fit, and get better at our craft is that as you improve your fitness, your intensity goes up as well. The other reason is that you get better at sweating the more you do it. You’ll start perspiring earlier in your workout, & more of your sweat glands will be activated to help your body to regulate the heat.
Keep in mind that sweat isn’t the only measure of how intense your workout is. Some workouts will leave you less drenched simply because of the workout itself. The best way to know how great your workout was, is always found in how you feel after the fact of your workout.
It’s important to stay hydrated. So make sure to drink 20 to 24 ounces of water to rehydrate after your workouts. If you feel that you sweat more than usual in specific areas and are concerned about it, we recommend speaking with your primary care physician. While we have provided some information on known triggers, it’s important to remember that everyone is unique and it’s best to pay attention to your own body.