At the end of a long, hard workout, the sweat dripping off your body might seem like a badge of honour, showing your determination and effort to achieve health and fitness. However, that sweat is not actually a symbol of your fitness abilities. Nor does it mean you burned a lot of fat. It is simply the residue of your body’s cooling system.
Truth be told, how much we sweat during exercise depends on a number of factors, including gender (men tend to sweat more than women) and age (younger people sweat more than older people) as well as genetics, temperature and humidity.
Another contributor is fitness level. Surprisingly, fit people tend to sweat sooner and more during exercise, than those who are less fit. Some researchers suggest that as your fitness level improves, your body’s heat-regulating system becomes more efficient, cooling you down faster and allowing you to work harder.
Only physical effort in the form of exercise can cause changes in the body, not heat from the outside. If the answer to weight loss and fitness gains were as simple as sitting in a hot room then everyone would install a sauna in their home and be thin.
So why do we sweat?
Sweating is a physiological reaction to heat, the body’s thermoregulation to cool itself. During exercise, due to the demand of the muscles to produce energy, the cardio-respiratory system ramps up and produces heat. In order f
or the body to maintain normal temperature and avoid the risk of overheating, it automatically produces sweat in response to the temperature change.
Is it true, does sweating mean I’m losing more weight?
No, heat does not increase weight loss in the long term. There may be a short-term loss, but it’s on the account of lost water in the body (which will be regained with hydration), not fat. Heat increases your body temperature, which makes you sweat, but it won’t increase the number of calories you burn. Excess heat can actually hinder your workout by causing dehydration.
To avoid dehydration, drink at least 230 ml of water 20 to 30 minutes before and after exercise. During your exercise session, drink 230 — 300 ml every 10 to 20 minutes. If you’re feeling light-headed or experience headaches, you need to continue hydrating and get out of the heat.
Don’t get caught in the myth of hot equals weight loss and fitness. Heat from outside of your body stimulates sweating to cool itself and gives you a false sense of exercise intensity. If you ‘re confused by all the information thrown at you by your neighbour, aunt, friend and Google, you can always contact one of our personal trainers and they will gladly help you out.
Stay consistent and keep moving people!