When it comes to exercise, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a drenched shirt and a dripping forehead. But does being soaked in sweat mean you burned more calories and had a better workout? While it’s common to assume the more you perspire, the more calories you burn, there’s actually little correlation between the two.
Consider this: If you run on the treadmill in an air conditioned gym, you’ll most likely sweat less compared to pounding the pavement in 90 degree heat. Granted your body has to work slightly harder to keep you cool running outdoors, but it won’t drastically elevate your metabolism and cause you to burn more calories. In fact, you may end up burning less energy instead. This is because being hot makes exercise feel harder, so you may exert less effort and fatigue quicker than when working at lower temperatures.
Sweat is not a gauge of how hard you are working. Our bodies produce sweat as a way to cool down, so if anything, it’s an indicator of how hot your body is. How much you sweat is based on a variety of factors, including:
- Fitness level
Of these factors, your weight and fitness level will most influence how much you sweat during exercise. Your body needs to use more energy to function at a higher weight. This results in more sweat, because there’s more body mass to cool down. The better shape you’re in, the quicker you’ll sweat. That’s because the body becomes more efficient at regulating temperature. Sweating earlier means your body can cool down faster, which lets you work out for a longer time at a more rigorous pace.
Everyone is born with a different number of sweat glands, so even a brisk walk to the mailbox can trigger sweat in some people. Women tend to have more glands than men, but men’s are more active so they sweat more.
Forget stressing about your sweat. Just keep moving and drink 24 ounces of water (that’s about how much most sports bottles fit) before your warm-up. Drink about 8 more ounces every 30 minutes throughout your sweat session and keep sipping throughout the day to stay hydrated.
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Mollie Steiner, M.S.
FitBiz – Show your employees that you care about their health and empower them to make positive choices. Whether you choose one program or several, your investment will benefit both your employees and your bottom line.
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