Ever wondered why you are always drenched in sweat at the end of an intense workout, while the sweat glands don’t seem to be even exist in your gym buddy? Heavy sweating might be looked down upon as repulsive, but it could a sign that you are physically fit.
According to recent research, individuals with high levels of fitness, especially those who train for endurance sports like running and cycling, sweat more profusely than people who rarely partake in any physical activity. It is no rocket science that the primary purpose of sweat is to cool down the surface of the skin and regulate body temperatures. Carolyn Dean of the Nutritional Magnesium Association adds further by saying,“Sweat is one of the main ways of preventing your core temperature from climbing to dangerous or harmful levels.”
So how exactly does this count as a good sign? When your body overheats, it signals your sweat glands to start producing sweat on the superficial level of the skin. Given the increasing temperatures, your sweat starts evaporating effectively dissipating heat and leaving behind a cooler layer of sweat. The air around us works further to cool the remaining water on our skin and creating a comfortable cocoon of coolness.
So this is precisely why your sweat levels are linked with your fitness levels. The more you sweat, the more cooler your body gets and the more harder you workout! Dean adds further saying, “When you’re fit, you’re able to work harder, generate more power, and sustain that power for longer time periods,” said Dean.
Physical therapist and strength trainer William P. Kelley agrees with Dean on this and says that fit people sweat sooner (and more) because their bodies develop a faster response to reduce the core body temperature when it heats up. “Your body gets better at reacting to the increase in temperature, and begins cooling down sooner and more efficiently, so you can maintain working out for a greater period of time,” he said.
Regardless of this, your level of fitness could also be signified on how early you reach your VO2 max capacity depending on how far you push yourself during a workout. Therefore the less fit person would have to exert more energy than a trained athlete would to complete the same exercise, and hence would reach their VO2 max much earlier, causing them to sweat more quickly.
If the fit person and the unfit person are working out to the full capacity of their VO2 max levels, then the fit person will start sweating sooner because their body is more efficient at lowering their core temperature. And because of this, how much you sweat becomes all the more important to learn how to optimize your physical performance and prevent overheating of the body.
Another factor that contributes towards sweating is body mass. Someone with higher body mass will have to work harder to perform the same task as someone with a lower body mass. Here again, the weakest link sweat more as they have to exert more energy which effectively raises their body temperature. So if you are obese, then an activity such as climbing stairs will cause you to break into a sweat. “The core temperature of obese people is higher because fat acts as an insulator, so they sweat more to try to cool down,” Dean adds.
In conclusion, the amount you sweat might not be a clear indicator that you are at your fittest, but it definitely signifies that you are getting there. Instead of assessing this as a hard and fast rule, one must be aware as to gauge your body’s fitness levels on the basis of your sweat patterns.