By Kristin Yancy
Here are the unavoidable truths: 1.) It is summer. 2.) It is hot. 3.) We ladies may be Fly, but we are also sweaty. With heat waves sweeping the country, there is pretty much no way to escape the fact that even extra strength men’s anti-prespirant won’t save you from a bit more –ahem– glow than usual. So, in the pursuit of positive thinking and silver linings, this week’s health post is dedicated to all of the good things that come from sweating. Try to repeat them to yourself as a mantra the next time you’re slowly melting into nothing on the subway…
First: The Sweat Basics
Facts: Sweat is the body’s natural way of cooling down working or overheated muscles, ridding itself of some toxins, and putting sodium back into the bloodstream. There are over 4 million sweat glands in the body. The two main types of sweat glands in the body are called apocrine glands and eccrine glands. Apocrine glands are activated by adrenaline– this is your workout sweat. The eccrine glands regulate the body’s internal temperature and are often activated by emotions or stress.
Second: The Sweat Benefits
1.) It cools you down: keeping the body’s temperature regulated is what allows you to exercise without overheating.
2.) It’s good for your skin: sweating opens your pores, and a deep cleaning after a good sweat can help to maintain a healthy, glowing complexion. Just don’t wait too long after sweating to cleanse; left unattended the same sweat that opens your pores can clog them.
3.) It can help you destress: sweating warms up the muscles, which allows them to release tension caused by stress or fatigue. Despite popular belief, sweating is not the main way the body releases toxins– this the job of your liver and kidneys– but 10-15% of the alcohol you drink is released through your breath and your sweat glands, which is why you can usually
smell tell when the guy next to you on the treadmill just had a rough night. #gross
Third: The Healthy Sweat
When it comes to exercise, there are a few ways to ensure your body is naturally and healthfully sweating. Water is lost when you sweat, so keeping the body hydrated is key. Depending on the intensity of your workout, it’s a good idea to have two or three glasses of water an hour before you begin exercising, a water bottle handy while you’re hitting the gym, and three or four glasses after you’ve finished. It’s important that your sweat is able to evaporate, so workout in breathable fabrics like cotton or synthetic fabrics containing polypropylene. Wear deodorant, not antiperspirant, when you work out, to keep yourself sweating-but-not-smelling. Avoid exercising outdoors in particularly humid temperatures, as this climate can cause the body to overheat. And get enough sleep! We’ve talked before about the benefits of some good zzz’s, and they extend into your fitness regimen as well. Put simply, you sweat less when you’re sleep deprived.
P.S. While adding extra layers of clothes can help to keep muscles warm and flexible, trying to force yourself to sweat more will only serve to dehydrate you faster, and the water weight you lose will come back instantly once you rehydrate.