Sweating. Some of us can’t stand sweat, but most of us are ok with it – at least when it comes to working out. Years ago, I dragged a friend of mine along to a spinning class for her first time. When she finished, she looked like she had a good workout, but in no way did it look like someone dumped a bucket of water of her head. She was absolutely mortified that she was sweating and said, “This is the first time I’ve ever sweat so much.” She never came back with me again. On another occasion, I was teaching spinning at a club in Chicago. After class, I opened the door to the room as everyone exited. A prospective member happened to be touring the club at that moment. When she saw me, she turned to the person she was with and said, “That’s what I want to look like after I workout.” I was completely drenched in sweat, as was everyone else in the absolutely packed room. Granted, since the room was full, the temperature was much higher, but you get the point.
That class aside, I’m not a big “sweater.” When my husband and I go for a workout , I’ll take a look at him after 20 minutes and it looks like he needs to change his shirt already. I’m barely glistening at that point.
Even though you can get in a great workout without breaking a sweat at all, those little drops of moisture on your skin mean something. Here are a few benefits of sweating:
1) Sweating cools your body. It’s a built in ventilation system.
2) It improves your skin’s elasticity and tone. You’ll look younger!
3) It improves blood flow. Your circulation gets a boost.
4) It has a great detoxifying effect. Sweat helps to push out “junk” from your lymph system, liver, blood, etc.
5) It improves digestion and helps eliminate constipation. What goes in should come out within 24 hours.
6) Sweating rids the body of pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals we breath in. Yes, it’s detoxing (point 4), but worth mentioning on its own.
7) Sweating boosts your endorphins. You’ll be happier.
8) It’s a natural antibiotic! That’s right, sweat can actually kill bacteria that can cause infection through antimicrobial peptides.
9) Sweat naturally elevates your “bad ass” level. When you finish a yoga class or run all sweaty and hot, you look like you’ve earned your stripes.
10) It helps you relax. Keep calm and carry on.
As you can see, sweat has plenty of benefits. Probably lots more than these 10. Many of these qualities also apply to sweating as the result of hanging out in the steam room or sauna. The average person sweats somewhere between 0.8 to 1.4 liters per hour (27.4 to 47.3 ounces). Your water bottle is probably somewhere between 20 to 30 ounces. That’s a lot! Many of us sweat and don’t even realize it. Sweat evaporates off the skin quickly.
It’s really important to stay hydrated. Unless you’re sweating somewhat excessively, or having been working out for 90 minutes plus, you probably won’t need a bottle of Gatorade, but you will need plenty of water.
Traci is a nationally recognized health and fitness expert who has been featured on The TODAY Show and Dr. Oz. Traci is available for corporate speaking events and wellness coaching, as well as private training. Contact Traci here.