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Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Joys of Sweating

There are so many ways to measure and maximize the benefits of exercise. You can take your pulse as you exercise to monitor your increased heart rate to make sure you get to the ideal fat-burning rate. You can set your treadmill to a certain pace to burn a certain number of calories. Or you can watch the clock for a certain amount of time to meet an expectation of effort or time logged.

There is an even simpler way to know you are putting real effort into your work out and getting the benefit out of it that you should. It is called sweating. The other day when I was doing my endurance training and was producing a very unladylike sweat I thought back to the conversation I had with my doctor 4 years ago when I was with her for my annual check up, having just turned 50. She asked me if I exercised and I wholeheartedly answered "yes". She then asked me if I sweat when I exercised. I thought for a moment and realized my answer was "no". I "glowed" when I worked out but I didn't really sweat. She then explained to me that without sweat I wasn't really getting the workout I needed to stay healthy and maintain my weight. If fact, she said I was guaranteed to gain weight over time if I didn't sweat and sweat regularly. And if I wanted to lose weight I really needed to sweat!

I struggled with the idea of sweating for a while. There were lots of excuses why it wasn't convenient to sweat...not enough time to shower...my face gets all red and blotchy...I get hot and stay hot for a while after exercising...I continue to sweat long after I finish exercising...But in the back of my mind I kept hearing my doctor's voice reminding me how important it was to sweat. Then when I kept gaining weight and finally faced my need to create a healthier lifestyle I embraced my "sweaty" self.

Like so many things I how found on this journey to a healthy lifestyle, what is good for you often has many positive attributes. Turns-out sweating is very good for your health beyond indicating you are having a worthwhile workout. Here is what I found (Benefits of Sweating):

Health Benefits of Sweating


Sweating has many health benefits. As a person sweats, it removes toxins and disease out of the body. The kidneys can take up to 24 hours to remove harmful toxins like lead and mercury out of the body, while sweating removes these metals much faster.  Sweating can also rid the body of harmful substances like alcohol, cholesterol and salt. Research has found that as much as thirty percent of the body’s waste is eliminated through sweat.


Sweating can also aid in improving cardiovascular health. As the body heats and produces sweat, the heart works harder to improve circulation. By regularly working up a good sweat, these benefits can have long-term health benefits.

Beauty Benefits of Sweating


Skin care begins with a good diet and proper exercise. However, sweating also provides benefits for skin. Sweat contains small amounts of antibiotics that can combat some of the bacteria that are found naturally on the skin. Sweating can also unclog pores which will help improve the skin's tone, clarity and texture. Profuse sweating can also slow the signs of early aging and help reduce the effects of skin damage.  Since sweat also contains toxins that are being cleansed from the body, skin should be cleansed after a good sweat.

Weight Loss and Sweating


We know that exercising is good for the body and aids in weight loss. Aside from the benefits of exercising, sweating can also aid in weight loss. As the body is heated through exercise, fat becomes water soluble and exits the body through sweat. Sweating can burn 300 calories an hour.

Sweating Can Lower Stress


The act of sweating may not lower stress or boost your mood. However, increasing your body heat by exercise or saunas does have a positive effect on mood and stress levels. Endorphins and other chemicals are released during exercise that naturally improve mood and lower stress levels. Also, heating the muscles through various methods can relax them which also aides in lowering stress levels. This can also help you sleep better.

So as you can see, there are many "joys" of sweating. I now wear my red, blotchy, sweaty face with pride!