Sweating. It’s not the most favorite pastime, and no one wants to have their clothes wet, nor do they want to emit a smell. Yet, the health benefits it provides your body are many. Sweating is a natural healthy body process designed to help your body stay cool as well as for a variety of other purposes. In fact, sweating is used to help your overall health. You sweat out about 10 percent of the water that your body loses every day. You don’t have to be working out to sweat, but when you do it during exercise, you are benefitting your body. When you sweat, there’s a lot more happening than just the visible signs of perspiration. Let’s take a closer look at the process of sweating and how it’s beneficial.
What is Sweat?
You have two different sweat glands: eccrine sweat glands and apocrine sweat glands. Eccrine sweat glands are distributed over your entire body while apocrine sweat glands are located on your scalp, armpits and genital areas. There are nearly 2 million sweat glands dispersed throughout your body, and are found in the layer of your skin called the dermis.
Most people think of sweat as a way to stay cool when you overheat. But in fact, if you are healthy, your body will sweat continuously, throughout the day at some levels. The amount of sweat you produce is heavily affected by several things, including air temperature and your activity level, as well as your emotional state.
Sweat itself is made up primarily of water. It also contains minerals, lactic acid, ammonia, urea, and sugar. Sweat levels increase for most people when they exercise, when the weather (or room temperature) is hot, or when they’re particularly angry, upset or even nervous. Sweat levels also increase when you’re ill, such as a fever (where your body burns up and your glands produce sweat constantly to bring your body temperature down).
Sweat comes in two varieties: active and passive. Active sweating happens when you exercise, and it stimulates your body. Passive sweating, which is almost therapeutic, happens when your core body temperature rises, which is usually due to the hot air around you.
Body temperature regulation is the most important benefit to sweating. It also helps blood vessels within your skin to dilate (expand) in order to release heat. It is the body’s basic built-in cooling system and brings your body temperature back to normal.
Sweat Helps Clean Skin
You may feel icky and gross when you sweat, and you may believe that it increases acne on your face. But sweating is actually your body’s way of helping to keep your skin clean. Every day, toxins build up in your pores that need to be released. If they’re not, then your skin can break out and cause pimples, rashes and other skin infections. So sweating actually helps clear your skin of acne. By sweating out these toxins, your skin stays cleaner, and over tie, it will appear to look healthier.
Sweat Helps Fight Sickness
High fevers are no fun. When you get a fever, your first instinct is to run to your medicine cabinet, right? A fever is actually your body’s way of fighting off sickness by trying to help you sweat it out, and lower your body temperature at the same time. If you are sick, it could actually be beneficial for you to exercise, so that the sweat that is released helps get rid of your sickness faster.
Sweat is a Natural Antibiotic
Sweating also helps fight skin infections because it does have antimicrobial properties. Sweat contains dermicidin, which is an antimicrobial agent that is contained in the eccrine sweat glands and secreted into sweat. Research has shown that sweating leads to a reduction of bacteria on your skin surface, which can lower your risk of skin infections.
Sweat Helps Clear Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are caused by a buildup of too much salt in the kidneys. For those who love their high fat and high salty foods, avoiding kidney stones is a must, because it’s painful. Regular exercise and constant water drinking flushes your system more efficiently and help to control the onset of kidney stones. Sweating during exercise causes the body to demand more water, which in turn helps keep the kidneys flushed. Exercise also helps sweat out excess salt.
Sweat Helps Cleanse Pollutants from the Air
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is one of the biggest chemical contaminants in our environments through modern industries. It disrupts your endocrine system, meaning that interferes with your body’s hormones. The glands of the endocrine system and the hormones they release are extremely important for regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism as well as sexual function and the reproductive processes. Sweat glands help get rid of BPA, as well as other pollutants, from our body.
Sweat is Good for the Brain
When you exercise strenuously to the point of sweating a whole lot, you help release endorphins. Endorphins improve your mood, and when your mood is improved, your brain is happy. But light walking won’t help you sweat, you have to do weight lifting and intense cardio exertion to make you sweat harder.
Help the Pain Go Away
Those endorphins you release by sweating not only are your brain’s mood enhancers, they are also natural pain relievers. Taking fast run at the park or even an intense dance class could help relieve aches and pains.
What’s Your Plan?
The more you sweat, the healthier you’ll be. Exercise is the best way to sweat it out, but not just any kind of exercise is good enough for you to constantly sweat. You need to do intense workout sessions, like HIIT training. HIIT training is High Intensity Interval Training, where, let’s say you jog for 20 seconds than sprint for 40 seconds, and keep doing this interval for many rounds.
Another great way to sweat it out, is by sitting in a sauna for steam bath for a maximum of 15 minutes. This will greatly help you sweat more. It is in fact, a great relaxation technique, reducing your cortisol levels (stress hormones). Cortisol promotes belly fat, and a steam bath reduces cortisol, which in turn helps eliminate belly fat.