Last updated on July 18th, 2019 at 04:04 am
When summer comes around the corner, I like to be outside in the heat. I love to go swimming, working in my garden, going for a walk, or doing other activities outside. Nevertheless, exercising is something I prefer to do inside.
For many people, exercising in the heat of the summer is not optimal either, they prefer to exercise in the cooled-down room. They would rather do their fitness program outside in the cold winter months.
Preferences to exercise outside or inside has to do in part with sweating. We tend to sweat much more when outside during the hot summer months than in the cold winter months. And sweating is not comfortable, therefore, we prefer to do the exercise routine where we don’t sweat too much.
However, you still sweat when exercising, no matter where you do it. You might ask, “Why do I sweat so much when I exercise?” That is the burning question. Let me tell you a little more about sweating in general, before I answer this question. So keep on reading to find out why you sweat so much while exercising.
Since I suffer from primary hyperhidrosis, I sweat very much all day long, be it winter or summer, but when I do a fitness routine, or just do my daily chores, I sweat so much that it becomes uncomfortable and almost always embarrassing.
You have sweat drops rolling down your cheeks, your neck, and your whole body. And it gets so sticky and uncomfortable. And did I mention all those sweat marks for everybody to see?
I have not just asked this question after I did exercise, but also after a nervous sweating breakout. It bugged me for years. Only until I started to understand what sweating is and why I sweat so much, and after I found a solution to the problem, is when it made more sense.
Let’s first look at what sweating is.
Why Do We Sweat?
The primary function of sweating is to cool down your body temperature. At 98.6 Fahrenheit degrees (give or take depending on your body, gender, age, etc), our body temperature is just right. When it goes up from there, our air-conditioning system turns on, which is sweating.
The eccrine sweat glands, which are all over the body, push out sweat and each sweat drop takes a little heat along, which helps the body to maintain the ideal temperature. Our bodies can heat up very quickly and if we wouldn’t be able to sweat, we would quickly overheat, which in severe cases could cause fatal heat strokes.
As soon as sweat comes out, it evaporates, which is exactly what helps your body cool down.
Why Do We Sweat More When Exercising?
When you exercise, your heart rate goes up, and since you move all body parts, heat is generated. In theory, the harder you work, the more heat is generated, and the more you would sweat.
However, this is not the case. Sweating does not show how hard you work, in other words, you cannot measure the calories you burnt by the amount of sweat.
The amount of sweat that you produce during exercise is different from person to person. Typically, men tend to sweat more. In fact, a study was done on fit men and fit women found that both had the same number of sweat glands. However, women produced less sweat than men.
Also, sweating depends on your genetics. Some families just sweat more under certain circumstances than others do. If your family is well-known for sweating a lot, don’t be surprised if you sweat more during exercise than others do.
Sweating also depends a lot on age. Younger people tend to sweat much more than older people because your the functionality of your sweat glands decreases as you get older.
The cooling system also seems to be better developed in fit individuals than non-fit individuals, which means that fit people will sweat quicker and more during a fitness routine than others that don’t do fitness regularly.
If you sweat very much when you exercise, don’t be surprised and don’t worry too much about it. Sweating is a very important body function. It cools down your body to protect the inner organs from being overheated.
Did I forget to mention that sweating also has to do with room temperature and hydration? Indeed, when you exercise in the warm weather outside, in a small and warm room, you will naturally sweat more. Also, if you forget to drink enough water during your workout, sweating will increase drastically.
A Function Of Sweating That Is Often Overseen
Sweating has another very important function: Removing toxins and built-up chemicals. But this is often forgotten and we just think of how uncomfortable it is.
In fact, sweating is a great way to detox your body. But don’t get me wrong, you will not get rid of many toxins through sweating. Research claims that only around 1% of toxins released are released through sweating. That is not very much, but it helps and it is an important percent.
Nevertheless, even if that number is low, sweating does unclog the pores of your skin and gets rids of built-up chemicals from deodorants, creams, lotions, make-ups, etc. Sweating is a great way to clean your skin.
However, if you want that build-up of chemicals removed, you will want to shower before exercising and right after exercising. Since sweat is made up of water, primarily, when it comes out of the pores, it will carry along whatever clogged the pores. And if you let your sweat dry on your skin, these chemicals will go back into the pores. Therefore, showering after a fitness routine right away is very important. Thus, showers can be found in most gyms and fitness studios.
What Can You Do To Reduce Sweating While Exercising?
As said before, sweating can become very uncomfortable. Especially during a fitness routine, when you sweat excessively, you cannot even focus very well on your routine.
Also, palms can become overly sweaty and can make it difficult to work with the necessary fitness equipment.
However, there are some things you can do to reduce sweating while exercising:
1) Exercise in a cold room: The most obvious one is that your body stays cooler from the outside. If you exercise in a cold room, that will definitely help to reduce the heat coming from the inside of the body.
Find a fan and circulate as much air in the room as possible.
2) Drink cold water: When exercising, it is very important to stay hydrated, which helps your body to maintain its body temperature better. It is highly recommended that you drink at least 2 cups of water 2 hours before exercising so your blood can get thinner and be pumped around better.
In addition to drinking lots of water during exercise, you can reduce your sweating by drinking cold water. You want to cool off from the inside out. However, if you drink cold water, take only 1 or 2 swallows at a time and do it frequently. Contrary to common belief, cold water when you are hot will not cool you down, but it can reduce sweating.
Just make sure you don’t wait until you are very dehydrated and then drink lots of cold water. That can cause your body into shock and leave you unconscious. If you drink water frequently during exercise, it doesn’t matter if it is cold.
3) Use an antiperspirant. Antiperspirants contain aluminum chloride, which is the best-known chemical to stop sweating. If you use traditional antiperspirants before you exercise, you will reduce your sweating, but only in your armpits. You do not want to put an antiperspirant all over your body since your sweat glands need to do their thing.
So when you stop your sweating in your armpits, your body is likely going to find a way to sweat it out somewhere else. However, sweating in the armpits is not very comfortable, and it really helps when you reduce it there.
There are many good antiperspirants on the market that will do the job really well. Apply it at least 2 hours before you exercise and immediately after you are done and have taken a shower.
4) Use baby powder. One thing you can do right after showering is applying a generous amount of baby powder to the parts where you sweat most, for example, armpits, groin, palms, feet, neck, etc. After a workout, your skin is probably irritated in some places, which makes baby powder a great suppressant of sweat.
Baby powder helps your skin stay dry, and irritated skin tends to sweat easily, so it is definitely worth a try.
5) Use proper clothes. Use natural fabrics that soak up the sweat. Synthetic clothes only make things worse because they do not promote evaporation.
One good and breathable fabric to wear is cotton. Just remember to wash your clothes every time you finish your fitness routine. Never wear them 2 times for a workout without washing.
6) Use a clinical strength antiperspirant. Another way to stop sweating in your armpits completely is to use a clinical strength antiperspirant that has up to 15% aluminum chloride, for example, Sweatblock.
Antiperspirants work best when applied before bedtime on completely dry skin.
Although I am not a fitness guru, neither can you see me exercising frequently, but since I sweat excessively every single day, I have had success with using a clinical strength antiperspirant which blocks my sweat glands for up to 7 days and I will not sweat.
If you stop sweating in your armpits, you will have compensatory sweating, which means that you will sweat more on other parts of the body. That might be uncomfortable for fitness training, but it is still better than having your armpits drenched.
Sweating very much when exercising is normal, depends on many factors like age, gender, room temperature, hydration, and more. Sweating is actually good for you and you should not try to stop it unless you are suffering from hyperhidrosis.
Let sweating during your fitness routine be a way of shoving out built-up chemicals and that small percentage of toxins. Try to see sweating from a different perspective: Sweating is a wonderful body function that helps us maintain our temperature.
However, if you want to reduce sweating because it is awkward, or because you feel you sweat much more than all the others. Don’t worry! Follow the steps outlined, and you will reduce sweating to more tolerable levels.
Are there other ways of reducing excessive sweating when exercising? Feel free to comment below and share your experience.
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