In my 43 years as a human I have noticed varying levels of acceptance of sweat, even in the multiple exercise circles I have run in, and continue to run in (literally). Some people seem surprised when they start sweating. Many accept it as a by-product of moving their bodies. Others are completely grossed out by it.
And apparently some people “don’t sweat—they sparkle.”
Well, I personally sweat. And I have my entire life. I sweat when I am hot (working out, or otherwise); I sweat when I am nervous (no fitted gray shirts for me for important events); I sweat when I have conflict (requiring a shirt change every time Jamie and I have a fight).
I am also capable of sweating pretty much anywhere on my body. One of my favorite sweat memories was the time that I realized halfway through a packed lifting class that my bright blue leggings did not wick moisture. I had to boldly (and nervously, which, you know, made the problem worse), stand in front of a very gracious group of people as the outline of my groin area and butt crack became more and more defined by sweat lines. (As you likely guessed—those pants never made it back in the rotation.)
Even so, I still love to sweat. But, can we learn from it? Well, I guess like all things, we can accept that sweat happens. And, like pretty much all bodily functions— sweating is also very important.
A few reasons why sweating a good thing:
- Sweating actually cools you down by removing heat from your body.
- Although this is sometimes debated, sweating is believed by many to remove toxic compounds from the body. This includes expelling impurities that can be embedded in the skin.
- Sweating often indicates that a workout is hard enough to help reduce cardiovascular health problems.
- Sweating can help in muscle recovery by boosting circulation and helping flush out lactic acid.
Are you someone who “just doesn’t sweat?” Here are a few things you can do (if you have not been diagnosed with anhidrosis, a condition in which you cannot sweat normally in one or more areas of your body)
- Hydrate properly—during, and outside of workouts.
- Get enough sleep. Some research points to bodies producing less sweat when sleep deprived.
- Acclimate to high temperatures safely, rather than always seeking out the comfort of air conditioned gyms, etc.
- Wear breathable clothing.
- Don’t force it. Many of us have memories of high school wrestlers wearing garbage bag looking sauna suits while doing laps around the gym to drop weight quickly before a match. They will be the first ones to tell you that it not helpful for long term weight loss (or for anything really). And, it can be dangerous to your body (see above: hydrate properly).
So much more could be said about sweating (like what to do with, or about, excessive sweat?). But, I promised to keep it short, so I will end today with two messages:
Sweat is a good thing—so let it flow. But, also make sure you are replacing the loss with not only plain water, but electrolytes (during exercise and throughout your day). I like to make homemade mixes for daily drinking (click here for some recipes).
Oh, and I highly recommend avoiding those cute colored leggings. You only need to learn that lesson once. 😉