Sweating is a very important, and often misunderstood, process of the body. It is basically a cooling mechanism used to dissipate heat to keep core temperature stable. We have come to associate sweating with hard work, since the harder we work or exercise, the more heat we produce and the more we sweat to cool off. That’s why so many people new to exercise think that the more they sweat the better they’re working out, and especially, the more weight they’ll loose. They wrap themselves in nylon jackets like mummies and run in the hottest time of the day. This is VERY dangerous, don’t do it!!!

Like any mechanism that regulates something, its action must be started by a proper, natural action, not a forced one. Our bodies get hot gradually with exercise, and as we get hotter, several mechanisms besides sweating come into action to help us cope with the heat. This gradual acclimation is what allows to deal with strong exercise even in extreme temperatures. But when we increase heat drastically, we bypass the logical response and our body starts behaving erratically. The heart beats faster, excessive amounts of water and salt get eliminated through sweat which may lower blood pressure to unsafe levels, the muscles start cramping out making exercise harder and generating more heat, but we may not have enough water in our body to produce more so we overheat to the point where we suffer from nausea, dizziness, headache, muscle damage and even loss of consciousness from heat stroke. So, with that in mind, here are 5 Do and Don’t to keep in mind:
- Don’t: wear thick clothes to force sweating, this will throw your body out of balance and decrease your strength and efficiency. Do: wear comfortable, light clothes that keep you ventilated and allow sweat to evaporate from your skin. Look for “breathable” materials in your clothing.
- Don’t: exercise during the hottest time of the day to sweat more. You’ll be punishing your body instead of benefiting it and risking heat stroke. Do: exercise during the cooler times of the day, like early morning, late afternoon or the evening. Decrease your work out time if the heat becomes excessive.
- Don’t: work out in hot weather at all if you’re not well hydrated, without enough water, the body will not be able to produce sweat and it will overheat quickly. Do: drink plenty of fluids before and after the workout, and if you’re exercising for more than 20 minutes, then have water available to drink during the workout.
- Don’t: use sweat as an indicator of workout efficiency, the amount of sweat changes from person to person and it’s not in direct correlation with the intensity of the exercise. Generally, heavier people sweat easier and more copiously than lighter people, and people with certain hormonal or glandular conditions sweat more heavily as well. Do: gauge the effectiveness of your workout by the one true indicator of effort level, your heart rate. This will tell you if you need to slow down, step it up or stop, not your sweat.
- Don’t: leave your sweat behind if you work out on a machine at a gym. Sweat is composed of water, salts, toxins and soluble fats, and as such, it can make for a very unpleasant, smelly substance. Whoever comes behind you does not need to come in contact with your sweat. Do: use a towel to wipe excessive sweat build-up during your workout.

28 Responses to “Sweating”

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