Why Is Sweating So Good For You?
Sweating; ‘eww’, ‘gross’, ‘smelly’, ‘embarrassing’, ‘unfit’. Here are just a few of the phrases you may hear if you’re dripping with sweat after a workout or on a hot day. Sweating has mostly negative connotations, however, very few people realise just quite how important sweating is for our body’s daily functioning and for our overall health! So we’re here today to dispel the notion that sweating heavily is embarrassing, or gross, or even a side-effect of being unfit.
The skin is the largest organ in your body, and it serves to play important roles just like any other bodily organ. When the skin sweats, it helps to lower body temperature, remove toxins, kill viruses and bacteria, lower your risk of kidney stones, and clean your pores. And of course, sweating associated is often a sign that you’re exercising yourself and thus, also reaping the benefits that exercise has to offer.
Lowering Body Temperature
The average body’s natural temperature is around 37°C. During rigorous exercise it may rise by a degree or so, but due to our body’s cooling mechanisms, such as sweating, generally remains only 1-1/5°C above 37°C. The maximum safe core body temperature is 40°C, and beyond this, serious dehydration and heat stroke may occur. Therefore, when our core temperature begins to increase, our brain triggers changes to effectors such as sweat glands and muscles controlling body hair. Sweating takes away excess heat carried in the blood, that has been produced by the active muscles. The liquid is then released onto the surface of the skin, where it helps to cool the skin as it evaporates. Finally, the cooled blood flows back towards the core of the body, to absorb and distribute more heat.
So what else happens when we ‘sweat it out’? Well, sweat contains all sorts of compounds from your body, including harmful toxins that are located deep within the skin. When you sweat, these toxins are pushed to the surface of the skin, and sweat then rids them from the body. Expelling toxins helps to support proper immune system function and helps to prevent diseases related to toxin overload. Experts agree that we mainly release excess salt, cholesterol and alcohol in our sweat. This means that a sweaty workout will help to de-bloat us, clean our clogged arteries and help with a hang-over. Thanks heavens for sweat!
Killing Bacteria and Reducing Kidney Stones
Dermcidin is an anti-microbial peptide that is released in sweat. Dermcidin helps to rapidly and effectively kill any invaders if our skin is wounded by a small cut, scratch, or a mosquito bite for example. Natural anti-microbial peptides such as Dermcidin, are actually more effective in the long term than traditional antibiotics, because germs are not capable of quickly developing resistance against them.
Furthermore, people who exercise more, and therefore sweat regularly, have been shown to have a lower risk of kidney stones. The reason being because an exercising individual sweats out more salt, rather than having it go into the kidneys where it may contribute to stone formation. Plus, people who exercise and sweat more tend to drink more water; another way of lowering your risk to kidney stones.
Cleaning Your Pores
Finally, sweating opens up the pores of your skin, and in doing so, helps the pores to release the grit and grime that holds in bacteria. The perspiration process reduces the chance of your pores becoming clogged, and therefore, works to prevent black head and acne formation – just make sure you wash off after you sweat so you don’t encourage the bacteria’s re-entry by leaving it lying around on the skin!