While sweating it out at the gym may not be ideal for finding a hot date, it is key to managing body temperature and staying hydrated. So rock the “I just got out of the shower” look and get sweaty!
Gonna’ Make You Sweat — Why It Matters
Before Snoop Dogg starts dripping, let’s get to the basics: Sweating is all about temperature control. When body temps rise (like, say, on a hot summer day or during an intense workout),the eccrine sweat glands kick into gear to keep our body temperature stableMechanisms and controllers of eccrine sweating in humans. Shibasaki, M., Craig G., Crandall, C.G. Department of Environmental and Life Sciences, Nara Women’s University Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences, Nara, Japan; Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX. Frontiers in Bioscience (Schol Edition). 2010 January 1; 2: 685–696.. Once the body passes 98.6 degrees, the brain’s hypothalamus (a.k.a the body’s thermostat) goes off— and no, it can’t just be turned down. This triggers the glands to release a salty mixture of water, sodium chloride, and other electrolytesMechanisms and controllers of eccrine sweating in humans. Shibasaki, M., Craig G., Crandall, C.G. Department of Environmental and Life Sciences, Nara Women’s University Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences, Nara, Japan; Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX. Frontiers in Bioscience (Schol Edition). 2010 January 1; 2: 685–696.. When sweat leaves the skin’s pores, it evaporates into the air, taking some heat with it.
While no one likes that sticky post-gym feeling, sweat is essential for a good workout. And while it’s been rumored that those who sweat like pigs aren’t as in shape as those who stay dry as a desert, some studies have found physically unfit women sweat less than their in-shape cohortsEvidence for metaboreceptor stimulation of sweating in normothermic and heat-stressed humans. Shibasaki M, Kondo N, Crandall CG. Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, Dallas, TX. The Journal of Physiology. 2001 Jul 15;534(Pt. 2):605-11..
One thing everyone can agree on— it’s essential to drink lots of water before and after a workout. And research suggests even pro athletes may not be drinking enough to stay hydratedSex differences in the effects of physical training on sweat gland responses during a graded exercise. Ichinose-Kuwahara, T., Inoue, Y., Iseki, Y., et al.. Laboratory for Human Performance Research, Osaka International University, Moriguchi, Osaka, Japan. Experimental Physiology. 2010 Oct;95(10):1026-32. Epub 2010 Aug 9.The sweating response of elite professional soccer players to training in the heat. Shirreffs, S.M., Aragon-Vargas, L.F., Chamorro, M., et al. School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire UK. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 2005 Mar;26(2):90-5.Hydration Status in Adolescent Judo Athletes Before and After Training in the Heat. Rivera-Brown, A.M., De Félix-Dávila, R.A. Center for Sports Health and Exercise Sciences at the Albergue Olímpico, Department of Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine, University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, San Juan, Puerto Rico. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 2011 Aug 30.. During exercise, the amount of sweat pouring out is often greater than the amount of fluids heading into the body, leading to dehydration. This messes with the body’s ability to regulate temperature and can hurt performanceInfluence of hydration status on thermoregulation and cycling hill climbing. Ebert TR, Martin DT, Bullock N, et al. Department of Physiology, Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australia. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2007 Feb;39(2):323-9.Hydration effects on thermoregulation and performance in the heat. Sawka MN, Montain SJ, Latzka WA. Thermal & Mountain Medicine Division, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA. Comparative Biochemistry & Physiology Part A: Molecular Integrative Physiology. 2001 Apr;128(4):679-90.Sports drinks, exercise training, and competition. von Duvillard, S.P., Arciero, P.J., Tietjen-Smith, T., et al. Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Health and Human Performance, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Commerce, Texas. Current Sports Medicine Reports. 2008 Jul-Aug;7(4):202-8.. And If you’re not a huge fan of H2O, sports drinks can also help replenish the body’s fluids. Before reaching for the bucket of sugar-loaded sports drinks (Gatorade shower, anyone?) remember that the sports drink should contain moderate amounts of glucose and sodium. These nutrients can help the body speed up rehydration and supply carbs to working muscles for an extra dose of energyFluid and electrolyte intake and loss in elite soccer players during training. Maughan, R.J., Merson, S.J., Broad, N.P., et al. School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK. International Journal of Sports Medicine and Exercise Metabolism, 2004 Jun;14(3):333-46..