The Science of Sweating
“Did you have a nice swim?”
Actually I just ran.
“Oh, so you just got out of the shower?”
Nope, this is pure perspiration right here.
“How long were you running???”
Oh you know, 30 minutes.
The amount I sweat looks completely disproportional to the intensity and effort I exert during a run. It seems logical that, after nearly 8 years of running, my body should be well-adapted to cardio activity and sweat less right?
I will be forever envious of fellow female runners who can shake out a pony-tail after a solid treadmill session with nothing more than a slight mist on their hairline. Meanwhile I’m towelling off my soaked face, my hair dripping as I sprint to the shower and avoid chit chat in my sweaty state.
I took to the world wide web to answer my eternal question of why the heck do I sweat so much if I am “in shape”?
***I can rule out “hyperhidrosis” or an actual diagnosis of excessive sweating because this only happens during exercise, thank goodness.***
SOME SWEET SWEAT FACTS:
- The autonomic nervous system controls the sweat function, a natural response to the rise in body temperature.
- Sweat is 99% water, 1% sodium and other compounds (on average). Some people have “saltier” sweat than others.
- The odor accompanying the release of sweat is not the actual sweat itself; it is the bacteria that lives on our skin around the sweat glands that becomes “activated” with the sudden moisture.
Sweat Factors:the amount a person sweats is related to the number of sweat glands, their gender, some genetic factors, source or reason for sweating (stress, spicy food, exercise, etc.) and overall body mass.
Other Interesting findings:
- Several sources report that more cardiovascularly-fit people sweat earlier into their exercise session because their bodies have learned to expect the rise in body temperature and attempt to cool off sooner into the workout.
- Because fat and body mass act as insulators, heavier people require more sweat to bring down their body temperature. This is why larger bodies sweat more.
- A red light for me: “CAFFEINE CAN INCREASE PERSPIRATION.” :(
What it boils down to:
The body contains between 2 and 5 million sweat glands. More glands = more sweat. I.e. Sweat volume is not a sign of fitness.
If you are a light sweater, I’m a jealous jellyfish. If you are a faucet, include extra hydration into your pre and post-workout routine. Drink up, buttercup!