Sweat is an important mechanism for regulating your internal body temperature. Without it – we’d die! How much you sweat when physically active is determined by multiple factors including but not limited to your age, stature, build, body composition (fat versus muscle mass) and health status (generally well/unwell/recovering from illness). No matter if you’re pro-sweat or sweat-averse: science tells us that during a workout, it is a good thing! Let us count the ways.
“Big sweat” comes from significant physical exertion, and with it a delightful wave of endorphins released into the body. In addition to this, when your internal temperature reaches high “sweat” point, sensitive neurons in the brain are triggered creating optimal mood-regulation. These two in combination equal a sweet little mood boost during and post workout.
Sweating is an efficient way to eliminate built up toxins from the body. Studies have found traces of cholesterol and salt, to alcohol, drugs and even some artificial toxins from external sources in sweat. It’s a great way to boost your circulation and fortify your immune system too!
Stay Cool and Perform Better
If we look at the act of sweating as a purely biological function, it’s basically like your own air conditioning system – cooling you down when you get too hot. Your body releases water on your skin, which then evaporates in order to cool down to the normal temperature (so while we’re exercising we don’t turn to lava from the inside-out).
When you sweat during class your body is working to achieve and maintain an internal temperature conducive to keep you going. This is great news – it helps you work out longer and possibly harder, improving performance results in stamina and strength.
We mentioned endorphins under “mood boost”, but did you know that these lovely little hormones also act as a natural painkiller. Ever wondered why we go back for more after a particularly challenging workout? Endorphins ease the pain. Also consider the effect of heat on sore, tight muscles (hello, DOMS!) – sweating it up is also useful for alleviating muscle tension and associated pain.
Embrace the sweat! But equally be mindful of hydration – you can’t have one without the other. Make sure you bring a water bottle to all classes, especially “heated” styles; and if you ever feel too hot and bothered, take a moment, slow down – stay safe.