The Truth about Sweat

We all know that sweat is your bodies natural cooling system.  To maintain a healthy body temperature, your body releases sweat which cools the body as it evaporates.  But for many of us, the summer has been dreadfully hot.  For runners, that means sweating buckets of sweat every mile.  There are some important things to be concerned about:  how hot is too hot, if I sweat that much how much do I hydrate, are sports drinks effective?

When it comes to sweat, some interesting things are going on in your body.  Here are some true/false questions regarding sweat from a recent article in Shape magazine.

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• True or False: You burn more calories during hot-weather workouts.

True. Your heart needs to work harder both to keep your muscles well oxygenated during cardio and to send extra blood to the surface of your skin to keep your body temperature safe. Unfortunately, the calorie numbers are pretty low, so don’t think you’ve earned an ice cream undae. Think more like one bite of chocolate.

• True or False: You sweat all the time.

True. You are always releasing moisture from your skin to help regulate body temperature, although usually not enough to be noticed. This is taking place over almost the entire surface area of your body.

• True or false: A human can sweat a maximum of 3 liters per day.

False.
This is one of the most common sweat myths. A person in a colder climate can sweat up to a liter per hour. A person in a warmer clime can lose between two to three liters per hour.

• True or false: Sunblock makes it harder to sweat.

False. Don’t let sweat myths like
these keep you from being sun safe. “Sunscreen does not affect the sweating
mechanism, which is your body’s way of cooling itself,” says dermatologist
Brooke Jackson, of the Skin Wellness Center of Chicago. Also note that no
sunblock is truly “waterproof or sweatproof” so make sure you reapply every two
hours.

• True or false: Sports drinks really do make a difference.

True. Remember in moderation. When you’re sweating heavily, you lose electrolytes, which need to be replaced through food or drink. Sports drinks can be a quick way of doing that, but keep in mind that sports drinks are often fairly high in calories. Make sure you don’t drink down empty calories that you just got rid of with a hard workout.

• True or false: Your body works harder when it’s humid?

True. Your skin relies on the air being somewhat dry so that the moisture from our body can easily evaporate. In humid conditions, the air is saturated with moisture and that makes it harder for the sweat to evaporate. This keeps your body temperature elevated and is why it can feel like such a struggle to do even easy workouts in humid conditions.

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Click here to read my blog on running in hot weather.

Happy Running!

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