Confession: I’m a sweaty guy… LoL Not all the time, mind you. Well… not anymore at least. When I was dramatically overweight I was “dewy” more often than not. Thankfully, those days are behind me but get me in the gym, and damn, I’m a hot, soppin’ wet mess within 10 minutes.
Traditional wisdom holds that fat is an insulator and when you’ve got a lot of fat it traps more heat in the body than someone of say, average weight.
But recent studies have found that it isn’t the amount of fat necessarily that causes one to sweat more but rather, the body mass of that individual.
For example, a 5’4 fit athlete will not sweat as much as a 6’3 fit athlete engaged in the same workout because the 6’3 athlete has a higher body mass.
Similarly, an an overweight person will sweat as much as an athlete with the same body mass when engaged in the same workout.
So, as it turns out, sweating isn’t necessarily an indicator of fitness but it, nevertheless, is a very good thing!
So, if you’ve observed that obese people tend to be sweaty it isn’t because of fat insulation but rather, because they’re simply working harder. Don’t believe me? …strap a 100 lb weight vest on and then go do your day. I’ll wait.
…Unfortunately, obesity is not considered a “workout regimen.”
Hey, I can joke. I’m in recovery from a severe addiction to Cheetos.
We sweat because our bodies sense that our temperature is rising and in response it turns on the waterworks in an effort to keep the body within a nominal temperature range. It isn’t even the act of sweating that cools us off but rather the evaporation of the sweat as it transfers heat away from our body and into the air.
Getting too hot can mean heat exhaustion or worse, heat stroke, which can be fatal. And there are some people who just don’t sweat well – those people are at particular risk for heat exhaustion/stroke so they have to be extra careful when exercising or even just walking on a particularly hot day.
But that’s not the end all be all of sweating.
Consistent, sweat inducing cardio workouts will help your liver by transporting toxins out of your body via the sweat system. So, while sweating won’t detox your body immediately after a night of pizza and booze, it will, overtime, reduce the toxins in our bodies.
So, if you’ve noticed that some people’s sweat has a…displeasing aroma it isn’t because they’re dirty but rather, because their releasing a lot of toxins.
Also (and quite amazingly,) sweat contains a natural antibiotic/antifungal/antimicrobial (WOW!) called dermcidin which protects the body from external infection. This is particularly helpful in the gym which, even in the best of cases, can be quite dirty.
Suddenly, I don’t feel so bad about leaving Lake Joshua behind after my daily HIIT and weight training sessions. You’re welcome, Gymfam.
Consistent sweat inducing activities also train your body to retain salt which is essential for cell metabolism. The more your sweat, the more salt you hold on to. So, if you’re already not seeing a lot of salt on your gym clothes you’re doing great!
Lastly, sweating helps you feel more connected to your workouts. We already connect sweat with work so sweating it out in the gym helps us feel a deep sense of satisfaction with out workouts which also improves things like self confidence and self image! Conversely, if you’re not breaking a sweat in the gym, you’re probably not working hard enough.
So, don’t be afraid to sweat! It’s a beautiful thing!
Om, Baby! Om,