It’s hot in Brisbane at the moment and sweat is unavoidable as our bodies try to cope with the rise in temperature. You might love ‘sweating it out’ in your workout sessions, or maybe it’s what puts you off exercising. Do you hate having to wash your hair after every workout session because the sweat just gets trapped in there? Do you struggle with body odour and increased sweating in work meetings or new dates you’re going out on? Is sweat something you celebrate, or something you curse because it stains your clothes and makes you a dripping puddle as you’re teaching lessons in a non-air-conditioned classroom? Whatever your feelings about sweat, it is designed to keep us cool and is what has helped us get to the top of the pecking order.
Sweating Your Way To The Top
Sweat, or technically, perspiration is a uniquely human function. Horses sweat, humans perspire. It’s another thing that sets us apart from the animal kingdom. Back in the times of hunter-gather ways of living, our ability to sweat has enabled us to be the better hunter. Even though our four-legged friends are clearly faster than us, they have nothing on our cooling system. Animals don’t have an external cooling system, they can only cool their bodies down by internal means – panting. We have sweat glands all over our bodies that exist to cool us down. This means our brains don’t overheat and when animals have to stop to cool down, humans can continue to think and move.. and catch up! Add to that because we are two legs, we have one third of our bodies exposed to the sun, this means we don’t heat up as quick. Hence, sweat is what has helped us get to the top!
We actually have two different types of sweat glands – eccrine and apocrine. The two are triggered differently to serve different functions of our human bodies.
- Eccrine Sweat Glands. We have 2-4million of these sweat glands all over our bodies. These are the ones that cool us down and regulate our body temperature so we don’t overheat. Our nervous system is stimulated in the hypothalamus to release sweat as our body temperature rises. Because it is regulated by the brain stem, we are able to adapt to different climates and people who are aerobically fit will sweat quicker and sweat more to cool them down.
- Apocrine Sweat Glands. These are the sweat glands that are responsible for making you stink. Apocrine sweat glands are found in your armpits and your groin areas and they release a bacteria to healp break down the sweat. So when the bacteria interacts with sweat, that’s what creates the odour. Don’t blame sweat for making you sweat – blame the bacteria! These glands are also stimulated differently, not by temperature but by stress, anxiety or fluctuating hormones.
The water in our sweat is what evaporates to cool us off – and we are left with the salty part on our skin. As your body heats up, the hottest water molecules are the fastest moving, and once it reaches a certain temperature it turns into a gas and takes off, leaving the cooler water molecules behind. And as the wind blows, it enables this process to happen quicker as the wind takes away the hotter molecules with it.
- Dripping sweat doesn’t cool you down. You need air flow to get that sweat to evaporate in order for it to do it’s job. So get a fan and get it blowing straight on you in your workouts!
- Find a deodorant that works. You only need deodorant to combat that bacteria in your armpits. Find one that works for you to help you combat the stink. If you feel that you sweat excessively, you may want to visit your doctor to help with some conditions that do cause excessive sweating.
- The fitter you are, the more you will sweat, so don’t stress about it! This means that you can work harder because your body has become efficient at keeping you cool. Grab a sweat towel and keep it up.
- Don’t use sweating as a weight loss tool. Although it requires energy to sweat, so naturally burning some calories, it’s not getting you stronger. Also, the weight you might see on the scales after sweating profusely may have to do with how much water you’ve lost – and need to replenish.
- Hydration, hydration, hydration. In order to sweat and cool you down in your workouts effectively, you need to have water in your body system to do the job. So make sure you are well hydrated before your workout session. And keep up the water intake during and after.
- Let your sweat glands to their job. Lotions and make up can clog up pores and inhibit sweat glands from working. So clean your body of makeup and creams so your body can sweat it out.
- Wear the right clothing. Sweat wicking clothing is designed to take up the sweat and remove it away from your body so it can evaporate and continue to cool you down. A lot exercise clothing is made with this technology. Also, don’t wear tight-fitting clothes as these will act as a barrier for your sweat to be removed.
- Keep hair at bay. Hair can trap sweat and stop it from being evaporated off your skin. Tie back your hair and wear a head band to keep it off your face.
So don’t let sweat stop you from being active and working out. It is there to help you work out. So come along and get sweaty with us at AJ’s Sports Centre! Contact us to find out how to get your 5 day free trial.