Sweating is uncomfortable. Sweating is dirty. Sweating is unhygienic. Who’d willingly choose to sweat? Well, it turns out that sweating is an essential biological process – one that exerts a host of unexpected health benefits. To sweat is to be human and to be human is to be alive. Or to get even more philosophical, “I sweat, therefore I am”. Here are five benefits of working up a sweat:
Sweating helps regulate your mood
Stressful day watching news updates? When you finally switch off the box, hit the workout mat, not the fridge. Exercise – the sort of exercise that calls for working up a vigorous sweat – is a highly effective mood regulator. Everyone can recall starting a workout in a bad mood. No one can ever recall ending one in a bad mood. So go on – sweat yourself happy.
Sweating relieves pain
You’ve heard of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. They get you through a punishing workout and they’re the reason you feel so good after conquering that hill or benching those plates. Well, you can thank exercise – or more specifically working up a sweat – for that. It’s what triggers the brain’s neurochemical pathways and gets those endorphins flowing.
Sweating removes toxins
Ever gone for a run the day after a heavy night out? You can almost see the booze oozing through your pores, and you can certainly smell it. Alcohol’s not the only toxin that sweat vanquishes however: from cholesterol to salt, perspiring vents all manner of toxins and helps to restore your body’s natural balance. For maximum results, of course, you need to work up a maximum sweat – try Adrian James High Intensity Interval Training. It’ll push you well into the anaerobic zone before gently bringing you back down.
Sweating helps prolong your workouts
Have you ever considered what would happen if you didn’t sweat during an intense workout? As you’ll be aware, sweating is a process that helps to regulate body temperature: as the sweat evaporates, our skin is cooled. Without this process, our temperature would rise to dangerous levels, with dizziness and potentially loss of consciousness among a raft of hazards. When you think about it like that, sweat isn’t such a bad thing after all.
Sweating keeps germs at bay
Sweating is traditionally synonymous with a lack of hygiene. And it’s true, in formal settings, sweat can be unsightly and uncomfortable. When you’re exercising, however, it’s all good. Really good. Perspiration contains an antimicrobial peptide known as dermcidin. It’s naturally occurring and has been shown to combat a host of germs, from the common cold to various infections.
In the boardroom, the classroom and the living room, by all means apply the antiperspirant and keep sweat at bay. When it comes to exercising though, don’t be afraid of a little sweat. It’s not a dirty word – it’s your friend and it’s the key to a healthier, happier body.