So you’re pounding away on the pavement, or perhaps pumping iron at the gym, and you’re sweating like crazy. Does this mean that you’re unfit? Or is it a good sign that your body is cooling you down efficiently? Let’s take a look at the factors that can cause you to sweat a lot.
How Sweating Helps Us
Sweating may not be very glamorous but it is very important for our wellbeing. The main reason we sweat is to keep us cool when we start heating up – usually through exercise or environmental temperatures. When it comes to exercise, the reason we become so warm is that our muscles produce heat as they work and can cause our body’s temperature to rise. Sweat then coats our skin and then when it evaporates it takes some heat with it, cooling our body in the process.
What Affects Sweat Levels?
Factors that determine how much you sweat include your fitness levels, weight, age, genetics and gender – and yes, men do typically sweat more than women. Women usually have more sweat glands (between 2 million and 4 million) but men have glands that are more active, and thus produce more sweat. External factors like stress levels can also make you sweat, as well as certain substances like caffeine and alcohol.
Does Sweating a Lot Mean You’re Fit or Unfit?
It can be confusing to figure out if a lot of sweating is a good or bad thing. Firstly, we must understand that excessive sweating can be a result of being overweight. This is because heavy people must exert more energy to make movements and they also have more body mass to cool down. However, very fit people also sweat a lot. This is because their bodies have adapted to regular exertion and become more efficient at regulating their body temperature to keep them cool. A study published in the journal Experimental Physiology in 2010 showed that athletes sweated more than untrained men and women when they did the same level of exercise, suggesting that increased fitness improves the sweating response.
So in short, you may start sweating less as you lose weight, but you could also start sweating more as you become fitter! Either way, it must be noted that excessive sweating can lead to dehydration, so it’s important to take regular hydration breaks and avoid working out in extreme sun or heat.