Only humans and camels can sustain themselves in a hot climate for a long period as they have a common ability to sweat. But have you ever wondered what happens when we sweat as humans?
For us, sweating is a natural process and its primary purpose is to regulate the temperature of your body. The hypothalamus, being headquarter of your brain, regulates your temperature at 37 degrees Celsius and gets inputs from two parts of our body in two parts. E.g. First part being the heat receptors in the brain, the second part is in the skin.
Have you ever wondered why we smell while sweating?
Now that we know why we sweat, let’s understand why we smell when we sweat. Usually your sweat does not smell unless it comes in contact with the bacteria on your skin. As an example, for some people, their feet smell after they have taken off their socks.
Sometimes the sweat can also smell due to the type of food you eat. E.g., if you take a lot of garlic or onion or fish, your sweat may give an odour. However, it doesn’t mean that you should stop taking these food items.
The best way to avoid having sweat odour is by simply maintaining good personal hygiene and using anti-bacterial soaps when required. Bathe regularly by keeping your body clean and using anti-fungal powders for your feet but avoid using deodorants.
If you are on any sort of medication, their by-products can also secrete via your sweat. This being the reason, under dope testing the sweat of sports personnel is also checked.
What happens when we sweat as different people?
Epidermis, which is the top layer of our skin, contains sweat glands and we sweat close to 500-750 ml daily. The amount of sweat your sweat glands produce can depend on factors such as the size of the sweat glands, their sensitivity, and their overall activity.
Men do not secrete sweat different from women. Sweating completely depends on the genes and not gender. So, what happens when we sweat as different people?
Fat people sweat more and thin people less is only a myth not fact. It only depends on their sweat glands. In fact some thin people can also over sweat. However, the sweat production in children is a bit lesser than in the adults.
Some women tend to produce less sweat primarily because that their sweat output is a bit lesser than the others. However, during physical activities men can produce more sweat than women.
The myth about exercising and sweating.
There are a lot of myths and confusions about the connection of exercises with sweating. Many people are simply misusing and exploiting this to market their products and gain more profits.
What you need to know is that you cannot control sweating and it also not advisable to do so. You will not be able get anything by inducing more sweat from your body. However, there are some items like different types of clothing or belts which are sold in the market to help in weight loss or detoxification of your body. Remember that none of these are true.
What happens when we sweat and how does it impact our weight loss?
As per a study, your body starts sweating within 8 minutes of engaging in a physical activity, as the body tends to disseminate the heat and maintain the body temperature. Of course it also depends on the environment where you are exercising as mentioned earlier. So for e.g. if you are working out in an air-conditioned environment, it will not be so hot and your body will not need to disseminate much heat. Hence you will sweat less.
What happens when we sweat in a hot environment?
When you are sweating a lot in a very hot environment, it is surely not a natural way to sweat. E.g., If you are in North of India, and you are working out in a 45 degree Celsius environment, you will surely sweat a lot, but it is not going to be of much help and it will also not provide you any additional benefits. The reason is what you are sweating out is water and not fat and hence, your body is also not getting detoxified. You are losing many salts while excessively sweating as well. You are on the other hand also cutting short your entire workout regime.
What happens when we sweat a lot while exercising for long hours?
Our body can produce a lot of sweat and it can even go up to 3 litres of sweat per hour. But if you are exercising up to say 4-6 hours continuously your brain will automatically reduce the amount of sweat to avoid excessive fluid loss. You may have noticed that when the armed forces personnel exercise for prolonged periods, they sweat a lot. But if they do not replenish their fluids, their body can get dehydrated (loose water) which is not good for them as their blood can get thicker and it can even affect their heart as it has to pump more blood.
Why we sweat and get dehydrated?
Dehydration can affect your physical as well as mental capabilities and if this goes on for a long time, it could be dangerous for your health. A workout or physical activity for around 10 hours in a hot environment can excrete close to 5-6 grams of sodium from a body and if it not replenished with fluids, the performance of the individual can decline having an adverse effect on their health.
In a general nutrition review of 2015, if you exercise in a very hot environment and even if your dehydration sets in close to 2-4%, there is no major affect in your power or strength, however there is an affect in your endurance. This does have a detrimental result in sports. Hence it is important to replenish your fluids and salts, if you are in any sort of sports.
Many sports drinks in the market are great to quench your thirst while you are exercising in a very hot environment or excessively sweating. They help in replenishing all kinds of salts like potassium, chloride, carbohydrates as well as sugars in your body with the right quantity. They also get quickly absorbed in your body and are perfect to help you enhance and sustain your exercise or workout performance.
What happens when we sweat a bit too much in an unnatural way?
There is another myth about sweating and weight loss and their connection. Since a long time, and even today, many people wear heavy clothing in hot environment to do various kinds of exercises or even for running. If you ask them the reason for doing this, and how is it helping them? They will say that it helps them in weight loss. This is a rather silly answer and if you further question them how it is going to help them, they will tell you that as they are sweating more and it means it will help them in weight loss or detoxifying. These are definitely not right concepts. These are all learnt from the internet and don’t have any validity.
Now days you also see the word “detox” everywhere including celebrities promoting products like apple cider vinegar to have in the morning or have more water for detoxification! There are similar myths about excessive sweating as well.
Some weird reasons to reduce sweating.
Another type of a myth has developed where people feel that sweating reduces their attraction or style. Quite shockingly, many girls come to gym with makeup to look good and also reduce sweat. Using such makeup is not only advisable as it is stopping the skin to sweat naturally, but it can also result in acne and cause scars over time. If you wish to know more about how makeup during a workout is actually harming your skin more, please read my Book
The final truth of what happens when we sweat
Normal level of sweating is a middle path between the two extremes of either excessively sweating for weight loss and detoxification or not sweating at all. It is a natural process and you have no benefit by increasing it. The commonly known fitness myth – “the more you sweat the more calories you burn” is not a fact.
Sweating will only regulate your body temperature or cool it down. If you are sweating, it will only ensure that your body will bring its temperature to 37 degree Celsius. It doesn’t work any other way. So, using all kinds of heavy clothing or running in a hot climate will be of no use as you will only be losing water.“If you weigh yourself after the exercise or workout, you may have lost two kilograms but that is only water.” You will gain this weight after you drink water or fluids. So, you are not losing fat at all.
What happens when we sweat while exercising? Do we lose water or lose fat?
There are many slimming centers and dietitians out there who are cheating you as they know that you are not much aware of the difference between fat loss and water loss and don’t know what happens when you sweat actually.
Please understand that water loss can happen by many ways. When you go on a low carbohydrate diet, your body will start secreting water through urination. So, it becomes easy for your dietitian to show that you are losing weight. Sometimes the dietitians will also give you completely wrong advice of reducing salt in your diet which in effect will also reduce the water in your body as salt contains water. This can even leave you completely dehydrated.
So, you will not be burning fat here, but losing water. Although your weighing machine will show a reduction in your weight, you will believe that you are losing weight and not just losing water.
Please note that your body undergoes weight fluctuation daily for about 1-2 kilograms from morning to evening. It is not a major thing; rather it is a normal method of your body to regulate your weight and water. So, it is not really showing anything to you. “Hence, the concept offered by some misguiding slimming centers for encouraging low salt or low carbohydrate diet along with other dehydration methods is a very bad indication of the health and fitness industry and it should be banned.”
But they are operating even today as many people are not even aware of the basic things they should do with their bodies. Read my on Amazon Kindle about ‘All that you would want to Know about Sweating and It’s Myths‘ to gain the information that is not available to others to break the pattern of making wrong choices.
Why we sweat to become thin rather than becoming fit?
It is common that most people are running behind the word “weight loss”. It is important to remember that if you wish to be fit and not just thin, then you must focus on fat loss and not water loss. The difference between fitness and thinning down is that when you are chasing the word “weight loss” you are chasing to become thin which is not going to benefit your body as it is a temporary water loss.
If you wish to be healthy, you should be chasing fitness and not becoming thin.Punit Dhawan
This takes a lot of hard work, dedication, pain tolerance, patience and time which maximum people don’t have.
But people want overnight results. Think about it that if you are a student, do you think you can get good marks simply by giving excuses, taking tuitions, using guides, taking short cuts or cheating? You will surely need to put in the hard work to learn the subjects well to get good scores, right? The entire world needs to do hard work and in every aspect of life. You can get the right result from something simple and difficult, yet you keep running away from it and you don’t ever get any good results.
This is the reason, many people in this world are waiting to take advantage of you and sell false things to you e.g. the dietitians who are there to give you stupid fat diets and also the slimming centers who know that you will not do that one simple thing called hard work.
“Given above understanding, please note that if you are excessively sweating, you are only losing water but also not losing any fat. It is only exhaust you and nothing else will happen to you.”
What happens when we sweat and lose water in special circumstances to lose weight fast?
There is however a need at times to lose fat quickly for a special reason. E.g., where boxers, body builders or sports personnel need to attain a certain weight category temporarily
Some people at times undertake extreme methods to lose water and lose weight in a short run like wearing heavy clothing, low carb or low salt based diets. But these are to achieve a small goal. However, in the long term, it is very harmful. So, you must get back to normal as soon as you can if you are taking these measures for a shorter duration. Some candidates are also advised to go for water loss to get selected in the defense.
But for normal people in normal life these kinds of weight loss procedures have no relevance. If you are steaming yourself and believing that you are detoxifying your body or losing fat, please note that it is nothing but water loss.
Misused myths between excessive sweating and detoxification
The myth about product based weight loss and detoxification.
Many media companies along with the slimming centers and dietitians are involved in spreading some misguided concepts about weight loss and detoxification. You may see on the television some instances where these companies are selling some sort of belts to aid excessive sweating and lose fat. So you must ask these people what is the link between fat burn and sweating and why we sweat.
They usually ask you to sweat more by using these belts, oils, gels which will aid in sweating. When you will check your weight, you will see a half a kilogram of weight loss as you have mainly lost water and not fat.
These companies are very smart, and they are taking advantage of your fears and your lack of right information to harm your bodies in this process besides wasting your money. They don’t have any ethics but only want to earn money. That’s all. They only want daily customers who see their products and those who don’t know about these products, buy these products and they are happy with it. By chance if some people get to know and it is exposed, by then they would have got another stupid fad product in the market.
Hence, please understand there is no connection or comparison between sweating and weight loss. Sweating does not lead to weight loss. If you spend some time in understanding more about why we sweat, you will know that sweating is a natural process to cool your body and that is it!
There are also many fitness equipment and supplement companies that are promoting the concept of detoxifying and losing weight by excessive sweating. They use words like “detoxifying” or “weight loss” which has no connection with sweating.
Why we sweat in Hot Yoga and how does it affect weight loss or detoxification?
Another concept that was introduced many years back was “Hot Yoga”, where you are asked to do yoga in a closed and hot environment so that your body sweats more and the reason given is that it will help you to detoxify your body more. If you have understood why we sweat and what happens when we sweat, you will also understand easily that there no link between this and the concept of yoga. It is rather stupid to link detoxification and hot yoga. If you are getting any benefits, you are getting it from yoga. “So, there is no relevance to doing yoga in a hot environment and detoxification.”
Yoga is an ancient and deep science and if someone is misusing yoga in such a way, he is using it as a criminal. They are exploiting this beautiful science and many people now days have started using it the way they want. When people give 3-4 fancy names along with yoga like power yoga or hot yoga, these are nothing. Yoga is yoga and that is it. Various forms of yoga have been developed over centuries but there is a very strong science behind them. In the past 10-15 years, the names that have been developed are all self-made names and they do not have any scientific connection.
What happens when we sweat and how is it linked to detoxification?
The purpose of sweating is to cool the body while your body parts liver and kidneys manage the detoxification process. The studies below disprove the myth that there is a connection between sweating and detoxification.
Study 1:In 2018, a journal in environmental international, some Canadian researchers did a study, as earlier seen that when you sweat, you not only secrete water, but also a lot of electrolytes, salts, amino acids, metabolites like pyruvate, lactate, and nitrates along with many other elements and minerals. Using this concept and many older ones, many people say that this process is detoxification.
Study 2: However as per another research, the real toxins are POPs or Persistent organic pollutants. The environmental toxins that come under POPs are insecticides and pesticides. These go inside your body and store themselves in your fat. This means that they are lipophilic or they bind easily with fat. According to this fact, whenever you are losing fat, you tend to detoxify more than when you are losing water. “Hence this proves that detoxification has no link to sweating.”
Even after sweating excessively by doing either hot yoga or steam or sauna, you are only able to excrete 0.024% of the toxins from your body. So, however much you will do, it will not help as by simply going out once again, you will inhale more toxins. Hence, you are just wasting your time by exposing your body to extreme environments, and thinking that you are going to detoxify your body by doing so. Hope this brings clarity of what happens when we sweat excessively and how it affects detoxification.
What happens when we sweat excessively during some therapies?
Using many strange therapies for detoxification has come in to light recently. A few extreme cases even lead to death. A similar case came out in the year 2011 when a 35 year old Canadian woman died during this process. They had her wrapped in mud and plastic to help her sweat intensively. She had gone through this therapy in a spa in Quebec. You will be surprised to know that the reporters found her body wrapped in mud, blanket and plastic wrap inside of a cardboard box. She stayed there for around 9 hours so that she can undergo excessive sweating. So, by now you would have found out that such kind of practices can be extremely harmful for your body and you must surely hesitate from undergoing these without an approval from your health practitioner or refer to Punit Dhawan’s book for such instances that you must avoid.
We hope these facts have helped clarify what happens when we sweat and that sweating does not lead to detoxification.