Even though sweating does not burn calories (on its own), it is vital for our bodies, and it is a gauge of how intensely we workout.
Two key factors determine burning calories:
The longer you exercise, the more calories you burn, and the more intense your physical activity is, the more calories you burn. Sweating is a "byproduct" of a workout.
Sweating happens predominantly to minimize your body temperature. For a typical adult, body temperature can be anywhere from 97° F to 99° F. When your body surpasses this temperature, your glands start secreting sweat on your skin so that it will evaporate and bring down your body temperature.
The amount of sweat you produce and how easily you sweat depends on a plethora of factors including genetics, the number of glands under your skin, age, weight, medical conditions, how physically fit you are, and more.
Sweating means that you lose fluids to thermoregulate your body, but sweating can help with short term and long term fat loss. Yes, you may lose water weight during a session that may inevitably come right back. Still, because your body is working so hard to cool you down, you're also using energy and burning calories, which contributes to more permanent weight loss.
What is sweat, and how does it work?
Sweat is a salt-based liquid that our hypodermic glands produce in certain situations, which we'll explore later.
Sweat is mostly composed of water, but there are two different types of glands in the human body, which in turn secrete two different types of sweat.
- Eccrine glands: eccrine glands are responsible for producing most of our sweat. They are located all over the body, and the sweat they secrete is generally odorless. They pour sweat across all of your body to cool it down when needed.
- Apocrine glands: apocrine glands are larger than eccrine glands and can be found in the chest, armpits, and groin areas. These are not used for cooling the human body, and as they are located near hairy regions, they are responsible for the distinct "sweat smell." Apocrine glands excrete a fatty type of sweat into the gland tubule. When under emotional stress, the tubule walls contract, secreting the fatty sweat onto the skin, creating those unpleasant odors.
Why do we sweat?
Sweating is a reaction of the body to regulate your body temperature. As such, we usually sweat due to the following, but not limited to, reasons:
- Emotional stress
- Low blood sugar
- Spicy foods
- High temperatures
- Hormonal disorders
So we do sweat for a variety for reasons ranging from simply high temperatures and intense physical activity to consuming spicy foods and alcohol or because of specific medications.
Benefits of sweating
There is a large number of benefits associated with sweating and exercising in high temperatures. Increased perspiration has proven to:
- Increase blood plasma volume
- Reduce blood lactate
- Increase skeletal muscle force
- Increase short term weight loss (water weight) and supports long term weight loss
- Improved heart health
- Faster muscle recovery
- Immune system boost
- Elevate your mood
Combining everyday physical activities and workout sessions with thermogenic activewear will boost your sweating to new levels, taking advantage of the sweating benefits we explored. Browse our collection of sweat enhancing compression activewear for men and women.
Hyperhidrosis (increased sweating)
Sweating at an increased rate is called "hyperhidrosis," and there are numerous factors that can cause this as a result. The most common type of hyperhidrosis is the "idiomatic hyperhidrosis." It is called this because there's no apparent cause behind it. It can develop at various stages of our lives, usually during our childhood, and can affect any part of our body, but our palms, soles, and armpits are the most common affected areas.
Idiomatic hyperhidrosis can be triggered in cold weather, too, but the effect is more intense in the summer and the hotter months.
In some cases, when a person has hyperhidrosis it is advised to do a blood test for thyroid disease as our thyroid glands are the ones responsible that influence our body temperature.