You have seen them – people who are drenched in sweat at the gym or from playing a game of basketball or tennis. You’d think that they must be losing weight like crazy. However this is not always the case. There are many overweight basketball players who sweat profusely. And if you watch tennis you will notice that many players are not skinny from all that sweat dripping from their bodies. What gives? Lets define perspiration to better understand why it happens and how it benefits you.
What is sweating?
Sweating or perspiring is a releasing of fluids from our bodies. This liquid is mainly water and electrolytes (sodium and chloride) with small amounts of other chemicals like potassium and ammonia. The types of foods we eat determine the chemical make up of our sweat.
Of course, one of the main ways we release fluids from our bodies is through our urine which we do on average 7 -8 times per day but sweating is an ongoing process we do, even when sleeping.
Why do we perspire?
The main purpose of sweating is to cool down our bodies and is necessary for our survival since it protects us from overheating. This is done through a process call thermo-regulation. There are millions of sweat glands in our bodies and they are responsible for releasing fluids to regulate the body’s temperature.
Women have more sweat glands than men but men sweat more.
Some people suffer from excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis and in some cases they will need to seek medical attention.
Most of our sweat glands are located in the bottom of our feet, palm of our hands, our arm pits, foreheads and cheeks. This is where you will see your gym buddies sweating the most.
Stress sweat usually produces more odor and this occurs mainly in the armpits and groin area.
Some common causes of excessive sweating includes:
- physical exertion
- hormonal changes
- humid weather
- eating spicy foods
- being overweight
Other benefits of perspiration . . .
You can lose weight excess weight when you sweat more than normal. This happens when we are exercising or doing work that requires extra physical exertion.
Sweating produces a natural antibiotic protein called dermcidin which defends against certain bacteria that attacks our skin.
Sweating helps in wound healing from scrapes, bruises and other injuries to skin and may even aid in healing diabetic skin conditions.
Getting rid of water through our skin can help prevent the development of kidney stones.
Why we must re-hydrate properly
Sweating is an important bodily function that we do twenty four hours of the day . . . even while sitting watching TV. Because we are losing this fluid to the prevent overheating, it’s necessary that we replace it regularly.
To replace the lost fluids drink water regularly and especially when working out. To resupply your electrolytes depletion drink natural fluids such as coconut water or eat a banana or have a cup of yogurt. You can also eat watermelon chunks after a workout. It not only replaces loss water but shores up your electrolytes and replace loss sugar needed for energy.
What is the best indicator of weight loss?
Although you can lose some weight from sweating, the main way we lose weight is from cutting or burning excess calories through muscle activity and dietary changes. The fluids we lose during sweating (water weight) is replenish when we re-hydrate . . . which is necessary.
Can you lose weight without sweating?
Although losing water through sweating can help with weight loss we don’t necessarily need to sweat buckets for this to happen.
We must combine cardio with weight bearing exercises for better weight loss results.
Doing resistance type exercises – lifting weights, using resistance bands or or doing body weight exercises – can be a better way to lose weight because you are activating muscles which continue to burn calories long after you are finish working out.