Sweat is often taken as a sign of physical exhaustion, particularly when it comes to working out. But does a sweaty bloke equal an unfit one? Quite the contrary.
This kind of visible exhaustion is more likely a sign of good fitness, as it shows your body’s cooling response is working effectively. While it’s true that excessive sweating can be a result of having more body mass to cool down, very fit people react in the same way, as their bodies have adapted to deal efficiently with regular exertion.
Given the primary purpose of sweating is to cool the surface temperature of the skin, it is even suggested that extremely fit athletes begin to sweat sooner into a workout that their sedentary counterparts.
Scientists from the Universidad Europea de Madrid, Spain, analysed the sweat response in long distance runners and found that the greater the athletic capacity, the larger the amount of sweat that was produced and quicker the onset. “Routine long-distance runners exhibited higher sweat responses after evoked sweating due to shorter sweat onset time and higher sweat output per sweat gland,” state the results of the study.
But if the effects of your workout are dampening spirits as well as your shirts, there is a way to stem the flow.
Studies from the University of Ottawa found that people who drank ice-cold water during exercise perspired less, thanks to thermo-receptors in the abdomen that detect temperature changes and tell the brain to decrease sweat output. Pop a bottle in the freezer ahead of your next session and it’ll be easy to keep your professional cool back at the office.