Sweating often gives the first impression of a hot and sticky mess. But beyond that, sweats are beneficial to your health.
It is an essential bodily function that aids healthy skin, cools down your body, boosts your immune system, detoxifies the body of toxins, and circulates blood flow through various blood vessels.
You may sweat for various reasons such as hot weather, the duration of sauna bathing, sickness, or being anxious.
What Is Sweat?
Sweat is also known as perspiration; it is a combination of water and chemicals such as salt, sugar, urea, and ammonia.
Sweating is essential for bodily function. It is your body’s way of cooling you down. It helps regulate your body temperatures and blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. Sweat is mainly composed of water. When your internal temperature rises, various sweat glands secret water to your skin’s surface, this helps promote heat loss and control overheating. Although sweat is odorless, it can also produce a foul-smelling odor when it mixes with bacteria.
There are two main glands that secret sweat these are;
These glands are everywhere but mainly located on the palms, soles, forehead, and armpit. Eccrine glands secret sweat made up of water, salt, protein, urea, and ammonia.
These are larger glands found in the armpit, breast, and groin region. They are usually situated near hair follicles and smell the most.
Physical activities, illness, or psychological disorders like exercise, fever, and anxiety can trigger sweating.
Depending on your body and the type of physical activity, you can also sweat more or less than usual and secret sweat with odor.
Heavy sweating can be caused by hyperhidrosis when you secrete more sweat than is needed for heat regulation.
This can be triggered by other conditions such as low blood sugar, thyroid disorder, or nervous system.
Sweating too little is called anhidrosis. This can result in overheating and severe health problems. It is also caused by dehydration, burns, and nerve and skin disorders.
Is Sweating Good For Health?
Sweating occurs for many reasons, such as illness, humidity levels, anxiety associated with depression, regular exercise, being in a sauna, or engaging in physical activities.
Sweating is a natural body function that is good for your health. However, sweating too much or too little can harm your health.
From a psychological perspective, sweat and physical activities, and healthy habits have beneficial effects.
But these habits or activities (exercise, regular sauna bathing, anxiety, cardiovascular events) are sometimes associated with other problems such as depression, heat exhaustion, and illness.
Although sweating is a normal body function, the activities or habits that trigger it help determine whether sweating is good for your health with beneficial effects or adverse effects.
Sweating while exercising enables your body to reach a level of exercise that promotes cardiovascular health. You can also achieve this by sauna bathing. Sweating from saunas is known to have health benefits.
You can spend time in regular sauna bathing to also produce sweat. It is a long-standing belief that specific durations of sauna bathing can positively affect your body’s heart rate, elevated levels, and heart health.
On hot days, always choose an air-conditioned environment for your workout. You can also choose to exercise when the weather is cooler.
Always stay hydrated. Do not work out if you notice unusual symptoms: dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, and vomiting. If you feel these symptoms while exercising, stop immediately.
Health Benefits Of Sweating
Here are some beneficial effects of sweating;
It Aids Weight Loss
Sweating helps boost weight loss; this may begin as a temporary loss of water weight which your body gets back.
But because your body needs to cool you down to avoid overheating, you also use energy to burn calories, leading to weight loss.
Promotes Heart Health
Some activities involving sweating can help reduce cardiovascular risk factors.
When the body is put in situations where it has to produce sweat to cool down internal heat, it can get the heart pumping like it is in a cardio workout.
This can help reduce your risk of stroke, coronary artery diseases, cardiac output, and other heart problems.
Triggers Positive Feelings
When you sweat, your body releases endorphins, a happy hormone known to trigger positive feelings, uplift mood, and aid overall well-being.
You do not necessarily have to engage in extra strenuous activities to produce sweat. Find healthy practices like Finnish sauna baths that work well for you, and always stay hydrated.
It Keeps You Fit
Sweating well helps your overall well-being. This is because your body is functioning well, disposing of toxins when it should, balancing your body temperature, keeping your cortisol levels and blood glucose levels balanced, and promoting heart health.
While sweating is essential, staying hydrated to make up for water lost when sweating.
To make up for fluids lost when sweating, you should;
● Drink lots of water throughout the day, not just when you feel like it.
● Avoid the intake of alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, as they can aggravate the effects of dehydration.
● Reduce sugary drinks and fruit juice. Replace them with flavored fruit water
● During intense workouts, take foods and drinks that contain electrolytes and 300 mg of potassium per serving, such as chicken, fish, yogurt, and milk.
What Is A Finnish Sauna Bath?
The Finnish sauna bath is also known as a dry bath. It promotes various health benefits such as detoxification, skincare, and muscle relaxation.
Finnish sauna function primarily on dry heat with humidity levels between 5-20% and temperature of about 80-100 degrees Celsius.
Unlike the regular sauna bath, the Finnish sauna allows you to spend a longer duration of sauna bathing. The Finnish sauna bathing is a relaxing, therapeutic practice with different health benefits.
Although sweating is beneficial to your health, it can also dehydrate you, increase stress levels or serve as a symptom of an illness.
Nonetheless, staying hydrated and practicing healthy activities and habits are vital. This is because the activities or habits that trigger sweating can have adverse effects or health benefits.
Michigan State University: Is Sweating Good For You?
Healthline: The Health Benefits Of Sweating
RealSimple: 4 Reasons Why Sweating Is Actually Great for You (Besides Cooling You Down)
FLUIDRA: Finnish saunas: how they work and their health benefit