Let’s talk about Sweat.
What kind of thoughts does it conjure up for you? It was once ‘unfeminine’ to be sweaty.
I remember as a kid my Mum used to say “Animals sweat, men perspire and women glow”.
These days I’m regularly dripping with that glow like I’m Tinkerbell on steroids.
The great thing about sweat though is that it’s an immediate reward for exercising, if you work up a sweat you know you’ve worked hard. It’s a small visual high five that you’re going in the right direction. You won’t see a leaner body or more defined muscles after one work out, but sweat is there to say “I know you’ve worked hard”.
Other than sweat being a badge of honour, it’s also an extremely important part of cooling our bodies down. Our optimum body temperature is 37 degrees Celsius. Imagine each of those as a drop of sweat that will evaporate taking a bit of your body heat away. So sweat helps cool you down two ways. First, it makes your skin feel cooler when it’s wet, and when it evaporates it removes some heat.
The fitter you are the sooner you will start sweating because it means your body is functioning efficiently. It means your body starts to regulate heat earlier which takes less energy.
Here are a few fun facts about sweat:
- During intense exercise in the heat, athletes can sweat off 2 to 6 percent of their body weight.
- There is a difference between regular sweat and stress sweat. Regular sweat is comprised of water, salt and potassium, and helps cool the body down as it evaporates. Stress sweat is released by a different gland and is comprised of fatty acids and proteins. Stress sweat doesn’t evaporate as quickly as regular sweat and can develop an odor when it combines with bacteria on the skin.
- Sweat secretions help you in other ways, too. They include dermcidin, an antibiotic peptide that appears to regulate bacteria growth on the skin and may fight infection. This is particularly handy in a gym situation where the equipment and machines are crawling with bacteria.
- Eating can make you sweat; when you eat your metabolism increases, which boosts your body temperature. You then sweat in order to cool down.