It may be hard to look your best right after a workout, especially covered in all that sweat. Yet, sweat is one of the first signs of an intense and successful workout. It is also important to understand what sweat is and why it occurs before you wipe it away with the closest towel you can find.
Many people don’t quite understand the basics behind sweating. To put it simply, it is your body’s way of controlling its temperature. After a strenuous workout or even during a hot day, your body’s temperature rises. Once your body surpasses its normal temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, a section of your brain called the hypothalamus (it might be easier to just call it the body’s thermostat) goes off. Once the hypothalamus alerts the body of the temperature increase your eccrine sweat glands are triggered, and your body to counter the heat. These glands release a salty mixture of water, sodium chloride and some other electrolytes that all combine to make sweat. The sweat will then begin to leave your pores, evaporating into the air and taking some heat with it.
As you may know, temperature alone isn’t the only cause of sweating. During exercise it is inevitable that your blood pressure and heart rate will increase. This will in turn cause the body to pump out more sweat. Some exercises, such as lifting weights, can cause the body to sweat even without exceeding the temperature threshold. Sometimes you may even sweat after you are done exercising and your heart rate and blood pressure fall. This is due in part to your muscles still being stimulated.
Certainly no one likes sweating after each and every workout. Let’s be honest, it certainly doesn’t smell that great and it doesn’t make you feel all that attractive. However, sweat is important to having a good workout. There are some misconceptions that sweating like a pig is reserved for the overweight or out of shape demographic. These notions can be swiped down by some studies that found that in shape women sweat more than there more unfit counterparts.
You might have heard the phrase, “men sweat and women glow” and perhaps brushed it off as just another saying. Alas, there may just be some truth it to. Even though men and women share the same amount of sweat glands, the glands in men pump out more sweat than the ones in women.
Now that you have some facts on sweat, it is important to stress the importance of replacing it. Most often during a workout the amount of sweat leaving the body is far greater than the amount of fluids going into your body. This can lead to dehydration which can screw with your body’s ability to regulate itself. It is vital that you drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your workout or even on a hot day to prevent dehydration. If you want something more than water, just make sure your sports drinks have all the nutrients you need to replenish your body.