The Secrets about Sweat

We go to great lengths to try and avoid sweating, but we’d actually be in big trouble if we didn’t sweat. Sweating doesn’t just occur in the gym but can happen when you’re anxious, excited, in a crowded space or even during a particularly spicy curry! The average person has about 2.6 million sweat glands across their body. It is a mixture of water and salt and is also known as ‘perspiration’.
Being sweaty can cause embarrassment at times, but it’s very normal and actually very healthy. If you’re curious to know more, then keep delving a little deeper into this blog and find out some more!

Why do we sweat?

Our bodies sweat to stop us from overheating when we’re in a warm environment or during exercise or exertion. Also (as mentioned above), our body produces sweat during quite absurd times of the days. Sometimes it can happen when we’re anxious or stressed – this is due to the different types of sweat glands.
There are two types of sweat glands:

Eccrine glands

These are found all over the body and are far more numerous; they are found particularly on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and forehead. They are smaller and active from birth.

Apocrine glands

These are primarily found in the armpit and the genital areas of the body and usually connect to hair follicles. These sweat glands become more active when your emotions are heightened – i.e. when a person is upset, frightened, anxious or in pain. Apocrine glands only become active at puberty.

Normally our bodies produce almost 1 litre of sweat per day, with most of it evaporating as soon as it’s produced. So we don’t notice it. (Some more dramatic sweaters out there may say that they do notice 1 litre of sweat pouring off them a day).

Whether someone merely ‘glows’ when they sweat or literally drip, this does not show how hard they work. It just shows how effectively they sweat.

Sweating and Exercise

If you exercise regularly, you will begin to sweat ‘better’, and you will not drip as much at the same exercise intensity. As well as this, the more efficient you become at sweating, the better you hold on to sodium which prevents muscle cramping. However, there are many extremely fit individuals who sweat  A LOT – I think many of our Instructors can vouch for this. This relates to their glands rather than their fitness which shows that sweating can be an inaccurate measurement.

Are you Sweating more than Normal?

Many things can cause excessive sweating. Some people do sweat more than others. If you’re worried that you may be sweating more than what’s considered normal. Contact a medical professional particularly sweating occurs with:

  • Chest Pain
  • Fever
  • Rapid, pounding heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss

Some Sweaty Suggestions…

If you’re concerned about sweating and it isn’t related to any of the above, then here are some useful tips to keep it under control:

  • Choose lightweight and breathable fabrics such as cotton.
  • Always wash the clothes you’ve got sweaty in so you’re not tempted to wear them again.
  • If sweaty feet are an issue, change your socks at least once a day and try not to wear the same shoes every day.
  • Avoid spicy food – if curries and chillies make you sweat like you’re in a sauna, then avoid them. Also, other foods like onions and garlic can make your sweat smell worse.
  • When you overheat, take swift action to cool down – whether that’s jumping into a pool (wouldn’t that luxury be nice all year round!), taking a cold shower or drinking a cool glass of water.
  • Try to avoid a high intake of salt in your diet. The body tries to expel excess salt through sweating, so eating too much salt will leave you sweaty and dehydrated.

Sweating is a completely natural thing and you would not be very well (that’s sugar-coating it – you wouldn’t be alive) if you didn’t sweat. So don’t panic and try some of the tips above to keep you cool as a cucumber.