Lifestyle

Sweating It Out: Everything You Need to Know About Sweat

 

As you probably know, tomorrow is the official deadline for filing your taxes.

Some people might have finished this process months ago, and some of you might really be sweating it out to get everything done in time.

Speaking of sweat, that’s exactly what I want to talk about today!

I admit it, sweating can definitely cause some inconvenient and awkward moments.

Like when you wave your arm to get someone’s attention and realize that your soaked armpit was just on display for the world to see.  

We’ve all been there a time or two, right?

But moments like this aside, did you know sweating is actually REALLY important?  

Function of Sweat

Sweat is the natural way our bodies keep cool when we get hot. It’s like our very own air conditioning system.

If you didn’t sweat, it would be super hard to control the core temperature of your body on hot days, and especially during your workouts.  

You’d always be overheating, and you’d get fatigued way too quickly, making it harder to give it your all during your workouts. Things could even start to get dangerous!

But besides being the cooling system used by your body, sweating may provide a number of other awesome benefits.

Benefits of Sweating

Like I said, the #1 reason you sweat is to regulate your body temperature so that you can stay cool when things heat up.

But sweat isn’t a one-trick pony! There are multiple advantages to working up a good sweat.

1. Detoxify

Sweating may have a detoxifying effect on your body by allowing small toxins to leave through your skin.

But lounging in your workout gear may cause you to reabsorb all the stuff you just sweat out, so just make sure to change and shower when you get home!

(P.s. If you’re looking for some super cute workout clothes, take a look at this!)

2. Clear skin

Sweating promotes an opening of the pores and helps to expel the dirt and oils that can clog them up and cause blemishes. This promotes clear and clean looking skin!

Again, just remember to shower when you’re done to wash that dirt and oil away. (And for more clear skin tips, check this out!)

3. Better overall health

Okay, so sweating alone might not lead to better health.

But sweating is a good indicator that you’re working out hard enough to get your heart rate up, which has been linked to a stronger heart and numerous other health benefits?!

What You Lose

Now don’t get me wrong-I’m not saying you should ditch your antiperspirant just so you can sweat more. That wouldn’t be good for anyone! But sweat actually does do some pretty great things.

In spite of all the positives of sweating though, it’s important to remember that it does take a toll on your fluid levels.

Endurance athletes actually track their sweat rate-that is, they measure and record how much they sweat during their training session-so they know exactly how much fluid they need to replace after training.

They understand that if they don’t replace what they lose, their performance will definitely suffer.

For those of us not training for a major race or endurance event, it probably isn’t necessary to calculate the exact amount you’ve lost during a daily workout session.

But that doesn’t mean it’s any less important to replenish your precious bodily fluids!

Post-Sweat Recovery

You might not think recovery is even a thing when it comes to sweating. But the fact is when you sweat you lose water and electrolytes.

Electrolytes are organic molecules like sodium, potassium, and calcium, that regulate a number of functions within your body, and that are lost when you sweat.

If you don’t take the time to replace these resources, you run the risk of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

Common symptoms of electrolyte imbalance include fatigue, nausea, and even cramps!  

So naturally, you should avoid sweating then, right? Not at all! You can easily steer clear of dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and the symptoms that follow by taking the proper precautions to own your hydration.

Consider the following tips to replace what you lose from sweat and to prevent dehydration.

1. Drink enough water.

A good rule of thumb is to drink between ½ gallon to 1 gallon of water every day. This may not be exactly right for everyone, but it’s a good guideline to follow.

Keep in mind your individual needs may be more or less depending on your size, activity level, and the climate where you live.

2. Eat a balanced diet.

To ensure you’re getting enough of each electrolyte, it’s important to eat a balanced diet. Electrolytes include nutrients like sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate.

Good sources of electrolytes include leafy greens, fruits, veggies, yogurt, lentils, and nuts, just to name a few.

3. Eat high water fruits and veggies.

Arrangement of fruits and vegetables

In your efforts to eat a balanced diet, target fruits and veggies in order to help increase hydration.

If you’re having trouble hitting your recommended water intake from sipping it straight, try eating more celery, cucumber, spinach, grapefruit, and other foods that have a lot of water.

4. What you leave behind tells a story.

Next time you have to use the bathroom, check the toilet for signs of dehydration. No, seriously, take a look.

Clear urine with a slightly tinted color suggests adequate hydration levels, while a darker yellow or even orange color is indicative of dehydration. If your color is darker than normal, that’s a likely sign that you need to hydrate!  

5. Consider a low-sugar electrolyte drink.

Supplementing with electrolytes before, during, or after your workout can ensure that your levels remain optimal, preventing dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance.

But try to stay away from drinks or powders with a lot of sugar, as these can have a detrimental effect. See, water follows sugar and a lot of sugar at once may push water out of your body at a higher rate, which is the opposite of what you want!

Bonus tip: Try some BCAAs.

BCAAs with added coconut water powder can help enhance your hydration, recovery, and help take your training to the next level!

BCAAs help you recover from your workout, and the added coconut water powder helps to keep you hydrated when you turn up the intensity!

Train Hard, Train Smart, Stay Hydrated

When you’re training, listening to your body is just as important as working hard. Treat your body right, and it will love you back!

If you do start to feel the effects of dehydration, don’t hesitate-stop working out and get fluids in your system right away.

Remember, it’s always better to prevent than to treat dehydration, so whether you’re sweating it out on tax day or crushing your workout, do your best to stay hydrated on the way to owning your day!

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Lindsey Mathews

Lindsey Mathews

Head Trainer & Nutritionist

Lindsey Mathews is the Head Trainer and Nutritionist at IdealFit. She is a NSCA-CSCS certified personal trainer, C-ISSN certified sports nutritionist, Pn. 1 certified nutrition coach, and a nationally qualified NPC bikini competitor. Before joining IdealFit, she ran the largest boot camp program in Utah County.


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