Maybe you’re at exercising at home or maybe you’re in the gym working with an expert trainer. Suddenly, it hits you: you aren’t sweating. Panic ensues.
Most people assume that any good workout ends in a pool of sweat. While it is true that sweating has its benefits, it is not the only indicator of a successful workout session. Here are five surprising facts about your sweat!
Sweat: What is it?
No, sweat isn’t just a damp indicator of how hard you’ve been working. Sweat is one of several ways your body responds to changes within the outside environment. Sometimes, our bodies can regulate temperature without sweating. For instance, the process of radiation allows our skin to give off excess heat. However, when these external methods fail, we sweat. When you sweat, water molecules from within your blood rise to the surface of the skin where they bead up and serve as a cooling agent. But, as you might be able to guess, every person’s rate of sweat is as different as they are.
Sweat is Personal
While the physical process of sweat may be the same for everyone, it is true that people sweat differently. Some people who suffer from skin conditions like hyperhidrosis struggle with excessive sweat. Other individuals report completing hour long workouts with little or no visible sweat. Gender and fitness level are just two factors that affect how much a person sweats. In general, it is true that women sweat less than men, even though they have more sweat glands. Furthermore, people who are relatively fit may sweat more often and more easily due to their more active thermoregulation systems.
As you could probably guess, external temperature has something to do with the rate at which you sweat. Working out in a typical air-conditioned gym is deceiving when it comes to gauging sweat. For one, since your body is not stuck inside a hot outside environment, less sweat is necessary. Even more confusing is the possibility of “invisible” sweat. Basically, even if your body is sweating profusely to cool down, the cold air present in most indoor gym settings has the power to evaporate the sweat droplets on your skin.
Weight Loss and Sweat
One of the most common “sweat myths” is that perspiration is tied directly to weight loss. Conventional wisdom holds that any workout leading to weight loss must involve large amounts of sweat. As a result, many people seeking to lose weight often try to increase their rate of perspiration through heated exercise areas or additional layers of clothing. However, these strategies simply increase the amount of sweat rather than weight-loss inducing caloric burn. Even worse, these methods frequently lead to dehydration or even dangerous overheating.
Don’t “Sweat” It
So how can you tell if your workout has made an impact? Duration and intensity offer one better way of measuring a session. When beginning a workout, you could set a timer to measure the amount of time you spend at various levels of aerobic intensity. Another helpful measure of a workout’s efficacy can found by looking a weight load or number of repetitions, particularity in strength focused workouts.
What Really Matters
More than stained t-shirts or dripping gym equipment, the best indicator of a successful workout is how you feel. Sure, you might find yourself soaked, but how can you know if you’ve been truly challenged? The experts at Custom Kinetics fully understand that sweat is only one part of the fitness equation. For fitness tips, advice, and yes, maybe even breaking a sweat, contact the trainers at Custom Kinetics.