Let’s start with a “Did you know” fact this time.
Did you know….
A soap like protein called latherin is found in a horse’s sweat and helps spread the sweat over their coat to maximize the evaporation of water to cool them down. Well, aren’t we glad that our body sweat doesn’t have a soap-like consistency after we hit the gym….That would look plain comical, isn’t it?
“Think of sweating as your body’s ventilation system,” explains Peter Bidey, D.O., a professor at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
When your body starts to heat up, whether it’s because of exercise, work, or outside temperature, your brain reacts by releasing sweat from more than 2.5 million eccrine glands spread out across nearly all of your body. These glands pour liquid through pores to lower your body temperature.
What is a gland? – A gland is an organ which produces and releases substances that perform a specific function in the body. Sweat gland is a small gland that secretes sweat situated in the skin.
There are two types of Sweating:
Thermoregulatory (when your body sweats to cool off) and emotional sweating. Emotional sweating is a bodily response to stress and other emotional stimuli. During stress, the brain sends neurotransmitter signals to the apocrine sweat glands, which stimulates sweat production.
Some Sweaty Facts:
- Average person sweats between 0.8 litres & 1.4 litres during an hour-long workout
- Body is actually continually sweating throughout the day. It’s only when the rate of sweat production exceeds the rate of evaporation, beads of sweat are noticeable
- The heavier you are, the older you are and the more stressed you are, the more sweat you are likely to produce
- Two types of sweat glands : Eccrine – major sweat glands found in virtually all skin, with the highest density in palm, soles and head. Apocrine – most of these glands are found in the armpits, the groin and the area around breast nipples. They are the scent glands and their secretions usually have an odour. Researches have shown emotional stress being a major contributor to odorous sweat.
- Sweat is mostly composed of water with other constituents being salt, protein and ammonia.
DIFFERENT FACTORS TRIGGER THE TWO GLANDS TO REACT
Besides just cooling down, there are many reasons why our body starts producing sweat. The nervous system controls sweat related to exercise and body temperature. It triggers the eccrine glands to sweat.
Emotional sweat, which comes from the apocrine glands, is a bit different. “It does not serve a temperature regulatory function, but rather to combat an impending challenge. Hence, when you see someone sweating next time before
Spicy foods trick our brain into thinking that our body temperature is increasing. This in turn triggers sweat production. Food allergies and intolerances are often the cause of sweating while eating.
Another thing that can increase sweating is consuming large amounts of alcohol. Research explains that alcohol can speed up our heart rate and dilate blood vessels, which also occurs during physical activity. This reaction, in turn, tricks our body into thinking it needs to cool itself down by sweating.
There are myriad other factors that drive sweat rates. Sweating can be a reaction to wearing restrictive synthetic clothing, or taking certain medications that affect your ability to tolerate heat. Other factors might include dehydration, menopausal hot flashes, an overactive thyroid gland, genetics, nerve issues or disorders, and skin diseases.
“[How much you sweat] is an important characteristic to learn about yourself to optimize physical performance and prevent heat illness,” said Dr. Robert Sallis, co-director of the Kaiser Permanente Sports Medicine Fellowship Program at Fontana Medical Center.
The good news is, the more you run or exercise, the more efficient your body becomes—meaning, the less overheated you’ll be and the less sweat you’ll produce.
So let’s get those alibis out of the way and SWEAT!