Are You Getting a Good Workout if You’re Not Sweating?
Many of my personal training clients ask me this question. I’ve trained people who barely break a sweat and others who are drenched doing the same workout in group fitness training. So, what gives? Does that mean the person who didn’t sweat as much didn’t work as hard? No, not necessarily.
There’s a common misconception that sweating equals calories burned. However, the reason why some people sweat more than others has more to do with biology and less to do with the quality of exercise. The amount you sweat doesn’t equate to the number of calories you burn.
Sweating is your body’s way of cooling itself down. When your temperature goes up – from hot weather, exercise, or situations that make you nervous – your sweat glands produce perspiration. The amount you sweat depends on the number of sweat glands you have. It also has to do with your age fitness level and weight.
While sweat isn’t an accurate indicator of effort, working out in the heat can influence the effectiveness of your workout.
According to a study of 20 trained cyclists, the group who worked out in hotter weather conditions resulted in an improved sweating and cooling process, and better blood flow and circulation.
This explains why hot workouts are one of the latest fitness trends. Hot yoga (performed in over 100-degree heat) and cycling classes in heated rooms have become increasingly popular in recent years.
For these types of exercises, it’s important that you hydrate before and continue to hydrate during the session. If you need to rest and sense your body is overheating, take a break. It may take some time to acclimate to the heat and intensity.
The Health Benefits of Sweating
Sweating has a positive ripple effect on our entire body. Aside from body temperature regulation, there are many different reasons why sweating is good for us:
An increase in body temperature results in an increase in blood flow, improving the overall function of bodily systems.
Detoxifies the body
Sweating is part of your body’s natural ability to detox. If you want to kick it up a notch and really cleanse your system, eat fresh, whole nutritious foods and hydrate regularly.
It’s true! Research shows that sweat can help fight off infection. Our sweat glands produce peptides, which act as antibiotics.
Promotes skin health
Many people believe sweating causes acne, when in fact, it does the opposite. Sweat opens your pores releases bad bacteria, and detoxifies the body (see #2).
Releases “feel good” chemicals
It’s common knowledge that exercise releases endorphins, but many people don’t know that when your body sweats, it is a natural mood booster.
The bottom line:
While sweating is good for us, it’s not a sign of an effective workout or an indicator of calories burned. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t make the mistake of trying to “sweat it out” or try to sweat more than someone in your group training.
As always, the best results – no matter what your fitness goal is – happen through hard work, a clean diet and exercise.
Keep up the good work!