Sweat while exercising

Sweating while exercising: That's why sweat is important

After just a short time on the treadmill, many people break into a sweat. And that's a good thing - if we didn't sweat while exercising, the body would overheat.

However, excessive sweating during exercise is uncomfortable. What options are there to prevent profuse sweating while exercising?

Why do we sweat while exercising?

Whether running, boxing or soccer - sweating and sport are inextricably linked. But why is it like that? Muscle work increases body temperature during exercise. In order to be able to keep this at a constant level (around 37 degrees Celsius), our skin is equipped with its own "air conditioning system" - the sweat glands. During physical exertion, they begin their work and produce a watery secretion that evaporates on the surface of the skin, thus protecting the organism from overheating. This allows the body to cool down to a normal temperature again.

How much we sweat during exercise depends on several factors like that

  • hereditary predisposition (number of sweat glands),
  • physical fitness,
  • the intensity of the training and
  • the sport.

Sweaty sports include jogging, tennis, cycling or playing football1. There is also one Difference between the sexes: Men usually sweat faster and more intensely than women.2

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Is profuse sweating a sign of poor fitness while exercising?

“Trained athletes sweat less than unsportsmanlike people” - this myth still persists. It actually is the contrary The case: With the same performance, athletes usually even start sweating faster. The reason: Your body has already learned that an increase in body temperature can be expected during physical activity and the "trained" sweat glands start producing sweat more quickly. Incidentally, this can also be observed in the sauna. Frequent sauna-goers usually sweat very quickly and intensely, while beginners often only heat up and produce little sweat.

The body weight also plays a role: people who are very overweight sweat more quickly during exercise than people of normal weight because they have a higher energy expenditure. Overweight people are also more likely to suffer from abnormal sweating (hyperhidrosis).

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Can you prevent profuse sweating while exercising?

First of all: profuse sweating during exercise can be very annoying, but it serves an important purpose and should therefore not be prevented. Most people would still like to do without large sweat stains under the arms and bad smelling odor. If you sweat profusely while exercising, you should wear exercise clothes breathable materials ensure that the sweat can evaporate quickly.

In addition, these materials usually dry very quickly, which means that embarrassing sweat stains are not visible for long. Clothing made of cotton, on the other hand, is less suitable for training as it absorbs sweat. You can also use deodorant (without aluminum) to prevent the smell of sweat. These are available with a wide variety of scents and cover the typical smell of sweat.

Good to know:

If sweating affects you in your daily life, you should consult a doctor. He can determine whether you suffer from excessive (abnormal) sweat production and recommend appropriate hyperhidrosis therapy.

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Sweating and sport: you have to pay attention to this

By sweating, athletes not only lose water, but also important electrolytes. That is why it is very important to ensure that you are drinking enough fluids when exercising. When doing this, you should consider the following:

  • Drink up no cold drinks. Although these are particularly tempting in warmer temperatures, they hardly have a cooling effect. Warm or lukewarm drinks are more suitable. These also stimulate sweat production, which means that more sweat evaporates and better cooling can be achieved.
  • For long workouts (over an hour), you should Drink small amounts in between. Hydration packs are ideal for runners or cyclists. These have a hose that you can use to take a sip at any time - without having to take a break.
  • These are ideal drinks before or after exercise Water or fruit juice spritzers. There are also special sports drinks that contain minerals, vitamins, amino acids and trace elements, among other things.
  • Don't just rely on your feeling of thirstbut drink occasionally even if you are not already thirsty. The amount of fluid you lose while exercising depends on the amount of sweat you've sweated. This can be easily found out using the weighing test. To do this, simply stand on the scales before and after training. The weight lost is roughly the same as the amount of water you lost3.

And after training? The sweat glands do not immediately stop producing when you stop exercising. In the so-called "Cool-down phase" athletes therefore continue to sweat heavily after training.

So wait a little while before showering until your body has cooled down. Otherwise, showering doesn't do much good: the sweat glands still produce sweat after washing, so you can stand under the water again. Hot shower water even stimulates sweat production, which is why you do so after exercising prefer to take a lukewarm shower.

Growing up in a family of nurses and journalists, Miriam Müller became interested in medicine and the media at a very early age. After various internships in journalism - including at Deutsche Welle in Washington D.C. - She successfully completed her master's degree in communication science at the Otto Friedrich University in Bamberg. She has been working as a medical editor at kanyo since 2017®where she can optimally combine her two passions.
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Medical editor and communication scientist
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