All of us are born with two to four million sweat glands spread across our bodies; adult females have more sweat glands than males, but males are actually more efficient at sweating. A study conducted by the National Strength and Conditioning Association has revealed that women sweat 0.6 litres per hour, while men sweat around 1.1 litres. This happens because female bodies evaporate sweat on their skin more effectively, which cools their bodies without much perspiration.
Does this mean that women have to work harder to lose weight?
Most people believe that sweat helps them lose weight faster, but is this just a myth or a scientific fact?
What is Sweat Exactly?
Sweating is basically your body’s natural cooling system during exercise or exposure to high temperatures. During a workout, the temperature of your body steadily rises and if your temperature remains high for too long, it can have serious effects on your internal organs. Your body starts producing sweat in order to avoid any risks. Once the sweat comes out of your pores and evaporates from the skin, your body cools down.
Do you Lose Weight When You Sweat?
The short answer is yes. Whenever a substance is removed from your body, whether it’s sweat, fat or even hair, you will definitely lose some weight. In fact, some athletes lose quite a few pounds during a workout. According to Scientific American, an average football player loses around 2-3% of their overall weight during practice alone. Some lose more than others; an average running back might drop around four pounds during a game while a linebacker might lose almost ten pounds.
More Sweat Equals Fewer Calories?
Unfortunately, the weight loss is only temporary. While it may appear that you have lost a considerable amount of weight after a practice session, the water weight returns immediately after you rehydrate. Many people claim that sweating devices, for example, sauna belts, can increase the number of calories that you burn. However, these claims are mostly unproven and have not been verified by peer-reviewed analyses. If you go out for a 30-minute run and you don’t break into a sweat, don’t worry, you’ll still lose more than 400 calories according to the Harvard Medical School.
Excessive sweating is especially popular in the boxing industry. If you know a boxer, you have probably heard that some of them wrap their bodies in garbage bags in order to encourage excessive sweating. This practice, however, is pretty dangerous. Your sweat is mostly made up of water, but it also includes electrolytes. An excessive loss of electrolytes may lead to cardiovascular problems, kidney damage and in some cases, even death.
Excessive sweating is also a medical condition. According to the IHS, more than 200 million people around the world suffer from hyperhidrosis. If you sweat more than others do, it is recommendable that you go for a medical checkup; if you have a busy schedule, an online doctor consultation might be the best option for you.
How and Why to Avoid Dehydration
Sweating is generally good for your body, it opens up your pores, lowers kidney stone risk and according to a study published in Biology Letters, increases the levels of endorphins (the “feel-good” hormones) in your body. Nevertheless, you have to be careful, because excessive sweat can lead to dehydration if you do not drink enough fluids. The consequences of dehydration range from heat strokes to low blood volume shock; the latter is sometimes even life threatening.
To function properly, your body requires around three litres (around 100 oz.) of water on a daily basis, and during your workout sessions you should drink even more. To avoid dehydration, you should drink 8-10 oz. before and after and at least 5 oz. every 20 minutes during exercise. Sometimes, even when you hydrate, you might be a few pounds lighter after a workout – remember it’s water weight, not fat loss. Just in case, hop on the scales before and after training. If your weight change is more than 3%, you may be experiencing severe dehydration.
Samantha has a B.Sc. in nutrition and has spent two years working as a personal trainer.
Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogosphere.
When not in the gym or on the track, you can find her on Twitter, or in a tea shop.
She blogs at Ripped.me.