Going for a run, swimming my heart out, hopping on my bike, killing it in a Bikram Yoga class; whatever that might be, sweating always work (for me).
It’s not only about mental health though; sweating is a necessary part of helping maintain balance within your body. It also helps detoxification, strengthen the immune system, and boost mental awareness.
That’s why it’s so important to break a sweat from time to time, or better yet, daily.
Sweating occurs within the natural human body mechanism of homeostasis.
Homeostasis is the process by which the internal environment of the body is kept stable despite changes in the outside environment1.
During exercise, body temperature raises as a consequence of increased blood flow and higher heart rate. In an attempt to cool off, sweat glands are activated and sweat is released onto the skin.
In order for the sweat to cool body temperature, the water must evaporate. If it drips off or if you wipe it off with a towel, you won’t benefit from the cooling mechanism of evaporation.
As the sweat molecule evaporates, its energy (or heat) is removed from the sweat that remains on your body. This loss of energy cools the surface of your skin2.
When it comes to detoxifying your system and improving your cardiovascular health, nothing beats sweating it out. The skin is the largest organ in the body, and it is every bit active in maintaining health.
Besides helping regulating your body temperature, sweat has two other functions.
Firstly, the removal of toxic wastes. Detoxification through your skin means toxins do not have to re-enter your bloodstream with the potential to do further damage before being excreted through your kidneys. We are exposed to toxins daily: through air, food, water and substances we apply to our skins. The release of toxins through sweat creates a healthier body from the inside out.
Secondly, sweat keeps the skin clean, supple and free of disease. One of the most common benefits of working out and sweating is that it changes your skin. It becomes clearer, more supple and younger looking.
An important natural antibiotic called dermcidin, produced by our skin when we sweat, is a highly efficient tool to fight tuberculosis germs and other dangerous bugs.
Sweat spreads highly efficient antibiotics on to our skin, which protect us from dangerous bugs. If our skin becomes injured by a small cut, a scratch, or the sting of a mosquito, antibiotic agents secreted in sweat glands, such as dermcidin, rapidly and efficiently kill invaders.
These natural substances, known as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), are more effective in the long term than traditional antibiotics, because germs are not capable of quickly developing resistance against them3.
Helps heal wounds
The same glands that make you sweat are responsible for another job vital to your health: they help heal wounds.
Human skin is rich with millions of eccrine sweat glands that help your body cool down after a trip to the gym or on a warm day. These same glands also happen to play a key role in providing cells for recovering skin wounds, such as scrapes, burns and ulcers4.
People with mild to moderate depression can significantly reduce their symptoms if they exercise aerobically. Studies have shown that the benefits of breaking a sweat are comparable to those achieved with medication or therapy5.
Learn to sweat
When you train regularly, your body’s ability to control its temperature improves. Your body will start sweating earlier, in anticipation of the rise in body temperature. Also, your body will increase its sweat-producing capabilities by enlarging your sweat glands.
This proves to be a very powerful tool as your body becomes a much more efficient machine.
Love the sweat
I don't feel like I've had a good workout unless I'm covered in sweat. However, I'm one of those super-sweaters and after a good 30 minutes, my entire shirt is soaked through. At that point I still like the sweat, there’s nothing gross about it, I know it’s a natural process that it’s doing me only good.
Truth is, I love to sweat!