At a football game this weekend, I noticed that my friend was sweating profusely.  He looked for advice on his apparent problem.  “What’s the real deal with sweat?  Is it good or bad? Why do I sweat more than others?”  Here’s the truth about sweat.

Most people don’t understand the concept of sweating.  The process of sweating, also known as perspiration, transpiration or diaphoresis, helps to release heat from our body.  As we engage in any physical activity, we use energy and create heat.  That heat needs to be expelled from our body or we will increase our core temperature to dangerous levels.  Sweating allows the heat to reach our periphery.  Once the beads of sweat reach our skin, the heat is released into the air upon evaporation.

By nature of that concept, sweating is a good thing.  Contrary to popular belief, those who sweat more are in better shape.  An early onset of sweat and higher sweat rate are markers of a healthy body.   It is the people who sweat less and retain heat that are at risk.

Here are some other misconceptions about sweat:

-Sweating can happen in the absence of physical activity.  Simply being outside in a hot and/or humid environment increases the core temperature ergo the need to sweat. 

-Sweating happens when it is cold out.  Because the temperature is low, the sweat evaporates at the same rate as it is produced, but you can be certain that it is happening.

-Sweating occurs when you are swimming.  The water masks the appearance of sweat, but it is certainly there. 

I hope this post helped to clear the air about sweat.  Remember, next time someone comments on your smell or stains on your shirt, just inform them that you are “a more efficient cooler” than they are.