Many people aren’t aware that sweating is actually good for you. Working up a sweat can release built up tension, refresh your skin, boost your endorphins, and release toxins from the body! There’s also other more unknown benefits such as health benefits and decreased recovery times. We’ve put together some of the scientific benefits of sweating to encourage you to build up a sweat this week!
What is Sweat?
The human body contains around 4 million sweat glands! These excrete a mix of water, salt, proteins, amino acids - aka sweat. The composition of this can change based on a number of things, such as hormones, bacteria and viruses in the body. Sweat can tell us a lot about our health, and how our sweat glands function. We sweat mainly to regulate temperature, to cool the body in heat and in stressful situations. This can be triggered by anxiety, elevated body temperature and working out. Sweat also detoxes the body.
The Benefits of Sweating
Detox the Body
The secondary function of sweat is for detoxification. There’s a lot of evidence that shows that detoxing through sweat is a real thing. For example, in one study, sweating sessions reduced levels of mercury toxicity to a safe level. With modern living and industrial pollution, detoxing is an important part of our bodily functions. Exercising more and building up a sweat can help eliminate heavy metals and toxins from the body.
Did you know that your skin has its own microbiome balance? These are trillions of microbes living on the skin. Sweat can act as a prebiotic to help healthy skin bacteria grow - just like drinking prebiotics to help bacteria in your gut. Sweating also stimulates skin cell turnover and can remove unhealthy bacteria that leads to acne.
The de-stress response, or parasympathetic response to give it it’s proper name, allows us to relax and recover and its activated by sweating. By breaking a sweat, we allow our bodies to boost endorphins, the happy hormones which relieve anxiety, stress and depression. Sweating also reduces cortisol, a stress hormone, and adrenal hormones are active to maintain this de-stressed reaction.
Strengthens the Heart
Sweating can increase circulation and strengthen the cardiovascular systems. A study following a group of people who had weekly sessions in a sauna found that this group were the least likely to have heart problems.
If you’re a regular exercise bunny, sweating lots can help you to reduce your recovery time. Sweating stimulates and increases blood flow to your skeletal muscles. This helps you bounce back quicker from illnesses, injuries or strains. Sweating also boosts the body's growth hormones, which helps it to repair itself from damage.
Reduces Eisks of Kidney Stones
When you sweat, you expel salt from your body, and retain calcium in your bones. This will limit the amount of salt and calcium that can accumulate in your kidneys and in your urine. It’s this build up of calcium and salt that causes kidney stones. Also, the more you sweat, the more you drink, and drinking water is also a great way to prevent kidney stones. Something as simple as working up a sweat with a brisk walk can reduce the risk for developing kidney stones.
Sweating can reduce the risk of catching a cold or the flu by a third. This is because our sweat contains antimicrobial proteins, which help to flush out toxins, bacteria and viruses in the body, and attack germs. These proteins attack the bacteria and viruses, and break them down., Sweating can also help you fight certain illnesses. Our sweat composition can change depending on what toxins and diseases are in our body. For example, a study following people suffering from tuberculosis found that their sweat contains proteins that are key to improving their immune system to fight the disease. These natural proteins are effective in fighting off illness long term, as bacteria cannot develop resistance to them.
Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s
As mentioned, sweating detoxes the levels of heavy metals in your body, which in turn improves the blood flow to the brain, which is a great tool to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. One study showed that a group of men who used a sauna more than once a week saw a reduction of risk of Alzheimers by up to 65% compared to those who didn’t.
Did you know sweating can help your hair grow? Sweat from your scalp will unclog your hair follicles, letting new hair grow through. It also opens up pores, which further allows your hair to grow more. However, it’s important to keep your head clean and not allow sweat to build up. This can eventually cause damage to the hair follicles, so sweat away but make sure you wash your hair after working out.
How to Gain the Benefits of Sweating
If you want to reap the above benefits, that’s great! Get your sweat on. It’s important to allow your body to sweat, so using less antiperspirant is the first step. These can contain the heavy metals you’re trying to detox, and also can block your pores. Natural deodorant can be a great alternative to chemical antiperspirants.
Try and fit in a workout a day, just something that's active enough to get you sweating. You’ll also reap the benefits exercising has on your health, both physically and mentally. Try our classes this week - all designed to get you working up a sweat.
Finally, you can relax and head to a sauna. Your body will sweat more in a sauna, and you’ll notice the positive benefits immediately.
By Amy Cavill
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