It is happening again. People are “working harder”? or so they think! Every year around this time I get the question below…so I’m reposting. If you forgot the answer or never saw…check out the below!
What’s the Deal?
Now that it’s getting warmer out and more humid, I’m getting the question, “Why am I sweating so much?” more than ever. Here are the ins and outs of why we sweat…it’s a VERY good thing!
Sweating and Heat Loss
The evaporation of the water from the skin takes heat away from the body and so sweating is essential for our temperature control. If we didn’t sweat at all, we could overheat especially during and after exercise or on very hot days.
Why Do I Sweat SO Much More When Its Humid?
Normally, the body cools itself by opening pores on the skin and releasing water and salts. As the water evaporates, it transfers the body’s heat to the air. Because water has a high latent heat (the heat required to change liquid water to vapor) this process usually carries away enough heat to do a good job of cooling the body.
But the rate at which water—or sweat—evaporates depends on how much water is already in the air. On dry days, sweat evaporates quickly, which means it also carries away our body heat faster. On humid days, when the air is already saturated with water, sweat evaporates more slowly aka you get extra HOT and SWEATY.
This explains why it feels so much hotter in high humidity. When humidity reaches a high enough level, the body’s natural cooling system simply can’t work. Sweat evaporates very slowly, if at all, and the body heats up. In extreme cases, people begin to suffer from heat cramps or heat stroke, which is basically organ failure as the body begins to cook itself.
The BIG Question
True or False, if you sweat more you are working harder. The answer would be FALSE, not only due to the above information on humidity, but it also has to do with each individual’s body. If you are an athlete your body is most likely more proficient in cooling itself, these people sweat…A LOT! You know that guy sitting next to you in class and is dripping in minute one…that’s him. It’s a practice thing and it’s also a bit genetic…some people are natural sweaters and really good at keeping cool (at least their bodies)!
How To Help Cool Yourself
To help athletes stay cool in extremely hot and humid conditions, engineers have developed special clothing that wicks (carries) moisture away from the skin. The clothing pulls sweat off the skin through tiny channels in the fabric and deposits it on the outside of the fabric where it evaporates. Fabrics that do not wick moisture away from the skin, like cotton, simply soak up the moisture and retain it—leaving you feeling soggy and hot.
Where Does All the Sweat Come From?
Sweat is produced from the “Sweat Glands” – the watery sweat comes from the Eccrine glands deep in the skin and the more “greasy” type of sweat that can smell comes from the Apocrine glands, that are usually found around the hair follicles.
Sweat is made up of mainly water. As it is produced from the blood, it does have some salts in it – sodium ions, chloride ions and urea. In people with heavy metal poisoning, some of the metal can be found in the sweat. However, despite many people thinking that sweat gets “rid of the toxins”, it is not a major way for the body to remove toxins.
I make a point to always remind my classes and now I’m reminding YOU to replace all the water your body with WATER. After sweating we need to replenish our bodies. We are made up of (depending on hydration levels) 70-50% water and we need to keep hydrated to allow our body systems to perform at peak levels. Get to the water bubbler, My People!
Have a WONDERFUL Memorial Day Weekend!
I can see you GETTIN’ FIERCE!