Does Sweating Help You Lose Weight? Benefits, Risks and Facts

Close up of fit woman torso with sweat on skin after workout

Does sweating help you lose weight? Contrary to popular belief, sweating doesn’t help you lose weight. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and risks of sweating, as well as some related interesting facts.

Does sweating help you lose weight? 

Let us burst the most believed myth for you around the question, “Does sweating help you lose weight?” Well, the answer is no. Sweating doesn’t help you lose weight. 

You read that right. When you sweat, you are actually losing water weight but not burning fat. 

Once you drink water and rehydrate your body, you will regain the lost weight. So, in that sense, sweating does not result in weight loss. 

To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit, which means you need to burn more calories than you consume. Use a calorie calculator to assess how much deficit you need to create.

Sweating and fat burn

Can sweating burn fat? The technical answer is no. However, it does help to regulate your body temperature. 

When you exercise, your body’s sweat glands are activated. This rises your internal body temperature. In order to cool down, your body starts to sweat. This process of thermogenesis is known to help boost your metabolism. 

A higher metabolism may mean that your body is able to burn more calories, which can eventually lead to weight loss, including fat loss.

But does that mean it aids in weight loss? No, not directly. It is important to remember that in order to lose weight, you need to watch the calories you consume in a day.

Relationship between sweating and calories burned

Does sweating burn calories? It is a common belief that the more you sweat during a workout, the more calories you burn. While this may hold true to some extent, the amount of sweat produced does not necessarily correlate to the number of calories burned.

There are various factors that affect how many calories you burn during a workout, such as:

  • Your weight
  • The intensity of your workout
  • The duration of your workout
  • Your body type
  • Your fitness level

On average, a person can burn anywhere from 200 to 600 calories [1]Harvard Health Publishing: Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights in a half-hour workout session. However, this number can be higher or lower depending on the factors listed above. However, sweating alone does not burn a measurable amount of calories.

Does more sweating mean a better workout?

The primary reason we sweat during a workout is the energy we are putting out, generating internal body heat. 

Aim for a good workout, not more sweat. You may also burn calories when you’re not sweating much or during some physical activities. 

For instance, you can still burn calories while doing sweat-free activities like swimming. 

So, don’t consider sweating alone to be a foolproof gauge of calories burned and overall weight loss.

Why do we sweat?

Sweating is a natural mechanism of the body to regulate its temperature. It is controlled by the autonomic nervous system [2]Medline Plus: Sweating, which is responsible for the body’s involuntary functions.

We all know that sweat is produced when our body produces heat. This can happen when we do intense workouts, do yoga, or maybe due to weather conditions. 

Regardless of what makes us sweat, the process is the same: our body produces sweat to cool us down. 

Types of sweat glands in the body

Our bodies have two types of sweat glands – Eccrine and Apocrine.

Eccrine sweat glands are spread all over the body and secrete sweat that is mostly water and salt. These are mainly responsible for the cooling process of the body and are activated when the internal body temperature rises. So, when you sweat due to exercise or heat, it is mostly water you lose.

On the other hand, apocrine sweat glands tend to be found in areas you sweat most, such as the armpits and groin. They secrete a thicker sweat that contains fats and proteins. This type of sweat often has a strong odor.

Weather conditions and sweating 

Most of us sweat more during the summer months. As the temperature outside rises, our core body temperature increases. To compensate for this, our body produces sweat to lower its temperature.

Moreover, sweating during the summer season is a perfectly natural and healthy process. There are typically around 2-4 million sweat glands in our body buried in the lower layer of the skin. These glands constantly secrete electrolytes and water onto the surface of the skin.

This is important because it helps to regulate our body temperature – if we don’t sweat, we would overheat.

Why do some people sweat more than others? 

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Some people may tend to sweat more than others due to various reasons. While some people may have more sweat glands, and other people may have only fewer sweat glands.

Here are some factors that may cause more sweating in you than others:

  1. Genetics
  2. Hormones
  3. Anxiety or stress
  4. Menopause
  5. Obesity
  6. Certain medications
  7. Eating spicy foods
  8. Excess caffeine intake
  9. Smoking

Health Benefits of sweating

Sweating is usually embarrassing, especially when you are in public places or events. But sweating is something very natural and happens to all of us.

So, what are the health benefits [3]Piedmont: The health benefits of sweating of sweating? Let’s take a look.

  • Detoxifies your body: When you sweat, your body gets rid of its toxins. These toxins are nothing but the impurities present in your body.
  • Rejuvenates skin: When you sweat, the pores in your skin open up. This helps in getting rid of all the dirt and impurities present in your skin.
  • Regulates body temperature: As we all know, sweating helps in regulating body temperature. When you sweat, the water present in your sweat evaporates and takes away the heat with it, thereby cooling your body.

Risks of sweating

Sweating has its own fair share of cons as well. Some of these are as follows:

  • Dehydration: The most common risk associated with sweating is dehydration. When you sweat, your body loses a lot of water. This can lead to dehydration if not replenished immediately.
  • Hyponatremia: This is a condition where there is an abnormally low level of sodium in your blood. sweating excessively can lead to this condition.
  • Hyperthermia: This is a condition where your body temperature is raised to an abnormal level. This can be caused by prolonged exposure to heat or sweating excessively.
  • Electrolyte imbalance: When you sweat, your body also loses electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. This can lead to an electrolyte imbalance in your body.
  • Body odor: Sweating also leads to body odor. This is because the sweat gets mixed with the bacteria present on your skin and produces an unpleasant smell.

Interesting facts about sweating 

Sweat can sometimes be quite inconvenient, but it is an essential function for our bodies to operate. Let us take you through some interesting facts [4]WAMU 88.5 American University Radio: 7 fun facts about sweat about sweating.

1. The older you get, the less you sweat

The older you get, the less you sweat. This is because your sweat glands shrink and become less sensitive over time.

2. Sweat is unique like a fingerprint

Sweat is unique to each individual in the same way a fingerprint is. Sweat’s formula consists of chemicals that are uniquely yours.

While everyone sweats, no two people sweat alike.

3. Sweat is odorless and colorless

You may associate sweat with stink and stains, but did you know that sweat is colorless and odorless?

It’s the bacteria on your skin or reactions to chemicals that cause those smells and colors.

4. Both men and women sweat differently

Although women have more sweat glands than males, male sweat glands produce more sweat.

5. Fitter you are, sooner you sweat

The fitter you are, the quicker you may begin to sweat during exercise. This is because your body understands the need for faster cooling to work out longer.

Conclusion 

It’s a common misconception that the more you sweat, the more fat you lose. In reality, sweating is your body’s way of cooling down when it starts to overheat. 

So, if you’re working out hard and notice yourself sweating more profusely, it simply means that your body temperature has risen to the point where it needs to sweat to prevent itself from overheating.

References

References
1 Harvard Health Publishing: Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights
2 Medline Plus: Sweating
3 Piedmont: The health benefits of sweating
4 WAMU 88.5 American University Radio: 7 fun facts about sweat

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