Change Your Choices

Change Your Life…Tips for a healthier you

Everything You Want to Know About Sweat…and some things you don’t!

on July 19, 2011

It is HOT and HUMID in Northeast Wisconsin and I love it!  The only downside is the parade of sweaty bodies in questionable clothes (or lack of) wandering through the store where I work.  Have you ever had someone hand you damp money?  There’s something really icky about that feeling!  So, is sweat bad?  I went looking for sweat info and here’s what I found:

Sweat is good for you- it helps your body regulate its temperature. 

The average person has 2.6 million sweat glands in their skin. The glands are distributed over the entire body-except for the lips, nipples and external genital organs.

We have two types of sweat glands: eccrine, which produce volumes of the watery stuff, and apocrine, which produce tiny amounts of thick odorless fluid.

-We have eccrine glands all over our bodies, including the palms of our hands, the soles of our feet and our foreheads.

-We have apocrine glands under our arms and in the genital area. When the thick odorless fluid from our apocrine glands sits on our skin, bacteria act upon it, which is what causes body odor. This means the stinky sweat is in your pits and crotch so take special care in those areas.

-Apocrine glands contain proteins and fatty acids, making their secretions thicker and giving them a milky or yellowish color. That’s why underarm stains in clothing appear yellowish.

– Add 1/4 cup of Borax with your laundry detergent to get the body odor stink out of your workout clothes, especially if you wear cotton. (more on that tomorrow)

-Apocrine glands develop during puberty, which is why children don’t need deodorant or antiperspirant.

-Men tend to produce more sweat than women. 

Now that we know about sweat- how do you deal with it when working out on a hot and humid day?

We are constantly sweating, even though we may not notice it because it usually evaporates quickly.  The humidity of the air around us affects the rate at which sweat evaporates. If humidity is high, the air cannot absorb any more moisture and our sweat won’t evaporate and cool our bodies as efficiently as when the air is dry.

-Losing excessive amounts of sweat can quickly dehydrate you, leading to circulatory problems, kidney failure and heat stroke so keep yourself sufficiently hydrated with water.  If you are working really hard, a sports drink with electrolytes will help but they can be loaded with calories.

-Sweat is made from fluid in your blood, which means the more you sweat, the thicker your blood becomes and the harder your heart has to work to pump that blood. Take it easy on hot days- even if you are in great shape, your heart can only handle so much.

-Drink at least 16 oz of water an hour or two before you go outside for a bike ride or run.  Take a bottle of water with you and drink 12 oz every 15 minutes while you are working out. This applies to lawn mowing, gardening, and other outdoor activities as well.

More on hot weather workouts tomorrow but I’ll finish with another fun fact.  Did you know that most Japanese  have little to no body odor?  Japanese men who had body odor were not allowed to serve during WW II because the were not considered pure. I don’t understand it, I’m just reporting it!


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