When we see or smell sweat, many of us may think it’s sticky, hot, humid — yuck! Then how can there be any benefits of sweating. It gets a bad wrap. But the truth is — we need sweat. So, we’re changing the narrative of sweat because we believe the best things in life make you sweaty! From working out, to a hot summer day, or even the nervous sweats before a first kiss or big presentation – perspiring reminds us that we are alive and more importantly, we are living outside our comfort zones — in an effort to better ourselves.
WHAT IS SWEAT
Also called perspiration, sweating is the release of a salt-based fluid from your sweat glands. Sweat or perspiration, is primarily water with tiny amounts of chemicals, such as: urea, salts, ammonia, uric acid, lactic acid, vitamin C, fat, zinc, nickel, lead chromium and other substances.
Sweat is our body’s natural coolant, and it helps regulate our body temperature. When our internal temperature rises, our sweat glands release water to the surface of our skin. As the water aka sweat evaporates, it cools your skin and your blood beneath your skin. That cool down especially after working out is a game changer.
SWEAT SCIENCE: HOW IT WORKS
Our body’s are equipped with an average of three million sweat glands (this doesn’t change from baby to adult, we don’t lose any or produce any more sweat glands along the way!) Our autonomic nervous system controls our sweating function. This is the part of the nervous system that functions on its own — without our conscious control. Those three million sweat glands mentioned above, they actually are divided into two different types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine. Here’s more on that and why it’s fascinating:
ECCRINE (COMMON SWEAT)
A type of simple sweat gland that is found in almost all regions of the skin. These glands produce sweat that reaches the surface of the skin by way of coiled ducts (tubes). The eccrine sweat gland produces a lightweight, odorless sweat.
This light, watery sweat that happens when you’re walking on the beach during a summer day, or when laying in an infrared sauna. This type of sweat cools as it evaporates off your skin, and it’s the kind of sweat that leaves you drenched when you exercise (or sauna!)
APOCRINE (STRESS SWEAT)
The apocrine sweat glands are concentrated in the hair follicles of the following parts of your body: scalp, armpits and groin.
The sweat produced from these glands feels thick, almost milky, and actually contains fat, which combined with the bacteria in these areas, becomes the distinct odor or yellow armpit stains on beloved white shirts. This “body odor” arrives when the apocrine sweat breaks down and mixes with the bacteria on your skin and comes from the root hairs under your armpits, groin or scalp.
THE MANY BENEFITS OF SWEATING IT OUT
Not all sweat is treated equally. And because sweat can smell a certain way, many may not enjoy “sweating it out” — because of self consciousness. But sweating it out is vital to our bodies and extremely beneficial. A good workout or an infrared sauna session can reap many benefits; such as detoxification of heavy metals, eliminations of chemicals and bacterial cleansing. Other benefits of sweating include: weight loss, improved skin, better sleep and boosting your immune system.
HEAVY METALS DETOX
Toxins of all kinds surround us everyday – heavy metals in our environment, hormones in our meat, and even pesticides on our produce. There are many differing opinions about detoxification of heavy metals through sweat. But a 2016 study, found that heavy metals were found in the urine and sweat of all of its participants AND were more concentrated in sweat. Perspiring appears to be a potential method for the elimination of heavy metals from the human body. The same study also indicated that the levels of heavy metals were lower in people who exercised regularly.
Regular workouts or infrared sauna sessions can help detoxify the body as it rids itself of accumulated highly toxic metals such as lead, mercury, nickel, alcohol, nicotine, sulphuric acid, and other organic and inorganic including salt. Speaking of salt, almost all processed, drive-thru food has an insane amount of salt in it. Whenever we feel “bloated” or “swollen” we are probably retaining excess water (thanks to salt). Did you know that sweating is one of the most effective ways to rid your body of salt! Yep. Bye bye bloat!
BPA stands for bisphenol A. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. It can most commonly be found in water bottles and containers that store food.
According to the Mayo Clinic, exposure to BPA is a concern because of possible health effects of BPA on the brain and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. It can also affect children’s behavior. Additional research suggests a possible link between BPA and increased blood pressure.
In a 2011 study, it was concluded that sweat is an effective removal route for BPA’s. The results of this study suggest that: 1) Sweat testing may be an additional tool for BPA bio-monitoring; and 2) Induced sweating appears to be a clinically useful tool to facilitate the release of BPA through the skin in order to eliminate this toxicant from the human body.
PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are man-made organic chemicals consisting of carbon, hydrogen and chlorine atoms that can cause a number of adverse health effects.
Manufactured from 1929 until manufacturing was banned in 1979. They have a range of toxicity and vary in consistency from thin, light-colored liquids to yellow or black waxy solids. Although they are no longer manufactured in the US, it can be found in cable insulation, oil based paints, plastics, etc.
A 2013 study in ISRN Toxicology, concluded that perspiration does appear to hasten the elimination of some PCB’s, but not all PCBs. Hey, we think that’s still awesome!
A 2015 review suggests that glycoproteins in sweat actually binds to bacteria, helping to remove it from the body! Although further research is needed on the topic, it’s a great find!
SWEATING CAN HELP IMPROVE YOUR SKIN
The profuse sweating carries off deeply embedded impurities and dead skin cells. This leaves the skin glowing and immaculately clean. Whether hitting the weights or breaking a sweat inside a sauna, get ready to glow!
Dr. Marisa Garshick, a dermatologist in New York City, has said that sweat helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the skin, which keeps the skin healthy, promotes collagen production, and promotes new skin cells which keeps the skin looking glowing and is also helpful for anti-aging!
Anyone else ready to break a sweat in honor of glowing skin?
Insomnia affects 1 in 3 people. So, let’s talk about sleep and how sweat can help it. Sweat can promote relaxation, balance stress hormones and naturally calm the nervous system.
Breaking a good sweat improves sleep for many people. Specifically when doing moderate-to-vigorous exercise, it can increase sleep quality for adults by reducing sleep onset – or shorten the time it takes to catch some zzz’s, and the best part? You’ll wake less frequently too.
BOOSTING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
A recent review published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science found that obesity and inactivity can lower the function of the immune system, but engaging in a healthy exercise and diet can help improve the immune system. In another article, Dr. David Nieman has said that, “Each time you exercise, the activity increases the exchange of important white blood cells between peripheral tissues—which help with the body’s immune response—and the circulation (blood and lymph vessels).” This increases the activity of immune cells in the bloodstream looking for infections or viruses.
An infrared sauna can raise our core body temperature. The artificial fever that occurs from an infrared sauna is the body’s natural mechanism to strengthen and accelerate the immune response. An enhanced immune system, combined with improved elimination of toxins and wastes via intense sweating, increases your overall health and resistance to disease.
SWEAT AIN’T GOING ANYWHERE EXCEPT LEAVING YOUR BODY!
Sweating is a natural function of your body when you exercise, get nervous, have a fever or are sitting in an infrared sauna. Although we associate it with a smell, color or look, there are many benefits of sweating. It is essential and we need it. The benefits it has been shown to provide, should get us excited to break a sweat and reap the rewards! From clear skin to detoxification. Sweat is our friend.
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