Sweating. It can be stinky. It can be embarrassing. And it seems to happen at the least convenient times.
(If you’ve ever been caught frantically drying out your pit stains under the automatic hand dryer in the office bathroom before a big meeting, we feel your pain.)
With summer just around the corner (we see you, Mother Nature—thanks for deigning to make a spring appearance), situations are only going to get sweatier. But guess what? Sweating is actually good for you. Perspiring is a normal, healthy bodily process and our bodies pump out moisture for a lot of good reasons (first date humiliation is just an added bonus).
So don’t sweat it!
Read on to learn about how your sweat is actually pretty sweet.
Why Do We Sweat?
The number one reason we sweat is because we’re hot. Whether it’s because it’s 90 degrees outside, you’ve just finished an arduous workout, or you spotted a Tom Hardy lookalike across Starbucks, when you get hot, your body sweats. There’s a scientific reason: When the sweat cools on your body it evaporates, taking your body’s elevated heat with it. Many people also sweat when they get nervous, because emotions like stress and excitement affect the sweat glands. Bodies are weird! Scroll down for 8 reasons this is all good.
1. Sweating Keeps Your Liver Healthy
Went a little too hard on Wine Down Wednesday? Get to the gym and get sweating. (Burying yourself beneath a pile of blankets and McNuggets is another, less healthy option. But that’s for another post.) Working up a good sweat helps your liver do its job—namely, processing those harmful toxins and getting them out of your body via sweaty secretions. Note: to really keep your liver healthy, experts recommend a regular cardio regimen, not just a one-time-after-a-bender deal.
2. Sweating Keeps You Alive
As aforementioned, the number one reason we sweat is to cool down our bodies, whether we’re overheating due to temperature or exertion. The human body is very resilient in many ways, but we do have our own boiling points, so to speak. Luckily, our sweat glands are always there to keep us cool even if we’re losing our cool.
3. Sweating Protects Against Infection
Everyone knows that subway handrails and the bowl of peanuts at your local dive bar are basically petri dishes for bacteria. But did you know that research has shown that more than 70 percent of the nasty little bacterium that can cause illness (like E. coli!) can actually be found at one of your healthiest haunts? That’s right, the gym is a breeding ground for those suckers. Good thing then, that human sweat contains a natural antibiotic called dermcidin, which helps our bodies fight off harmful bacteria.
4. Sweating Hydrates Your Skin
There’s a commonly held conception that sweating can cause acne. And sure, if you don’t wash your skin regularly, that can happen. But healthy sweat can actually help remove impurities from your skin, and keep it hydrated. The good oils in your sweat hang around after you’ve showered yourself clean, acting like natural moisturizer.
5. Sweating Gives You More Energy
If you’re perspiring more profusely than the other ladies in your spin class, wear that sweaty sheen with pride! Studies show that fitter people sweat more and faster during the same workout than those in less tip-top shape. That’s because a fit body has trained itself to regulate its temperature before it gets too high, which requires less energy than working yourself up into a sweat. Thus, you’ve got energy to spare!
6. Sweating Boosts Strength
This one is all about the science: Sweat contains 99 percent water and 1 percent salt, potassium, and carbs. The sodium from that tiny amount of salt helps balance the water in and around your cells, but if you lose too much of it, you’ll feel detrimental effects—like fatigue and muscle cramping. The good news: the more and more often you sweat, the better your body gets at keeping that healthy sodium from seeping out. Basically a healthy amount of sweating trains your body to work better, and feel stronger.
Sweating Helps You Recover Faster
Another #science fact: If you’re pushing yourself at the gym hard enough to work up a good, healthy sweat, it also means you’re working hard enough to really get your blood pumping. That increased blood flow helps your body keep harmful metabolites away from muscles they want to damage. CliffsNotes: Sweating keeps your muscles from getting too sore after a workout, and aids quicker recovery.
Sweating Helps You Be More Connected To Your Workout
No science here! For many people, the visible appearance of sweat during a workout or other activity requiring exertion makes them feel like they’re really accomplishing something. Thus, you work even harder and feel even better about, and more connected to, your workout. Win, win.