“Uh..!! I am sweaty all over….” is a statement we often utter or have heard someone express with extreme discomfort. Sweating is more often than not something that leads to a situation of embarrassment that we would rather avoid if up to our choice. This is the general attitude during the high Indian summers and also during the humid monsoon seasons. We have often cursed this biological phenomenon for ruining our artistically composed look for a certain event. While the fact that we might grudgingly appreciate this feeling during peak winters and after that particularly heavy workout session is another issue altogether. Sweating is an extremely natural process of the body. It is a carefully constructed mechanism shaped for the adaptability of our bodies to external environmental conditions by evolution. Anything evolutionary is bound to have its benefits. This love-hate relationship with perspiration we have with sweat is due to the various effects of sweat in our system. So, now we are going to look into some of the reasons (not the only!) as to why sweating is actually good for your health.
10. Wound Healing
Yes! It’s your body’s internal defense mechanism. Dermicin is an anti-bacterial peptide present in the two million eccrine sweat glands of our skin which is released through sweat. It has the ability to fight microbial bodies like viable bacteria that happen to wander onto our skin surface. Studies have shown that people with frequent skin problems might be lacking dermicin in their sweat. Sweating also happens to heal minor wounds like rashes and mild scratches present on the skin. This is how you got rid of that mosquito bite sting from yesterday! The eccrine sweat glands have a reservoir of adult stem cells that are kicked into action to help in wound closure.
9. Blemish free skin
Sweating helps to release the unwanted dirt particles present in the pores of your skin. These particles are what clogs the pores causing skin eruptions and breakouts like pimples, zits and zats. Sweating also increases the elasticity and tone of the skin, making you look younger. The process of perspiration cleans the grit and grime present in the skin thereby not letting it show to the surface as blemishes. But make sure to clean off the sweat completely to eliminate the chances of future blemishes.
8. Body temperature
This would technically be the prime function of sweating. Ever heard of homeostasis? Well, it is the mechanism of the body to regulate the internal temperature of the body with respect to external environment. Sweating released onto our skin evaporates from the surface causing cooling effect. This ensures that our body doesn’t overheat and cause problems. It is literally your inbuilt ventilation system. Regular work-outs can increase the number of sweat glands present on the body surface and also keep these glands in top condition. Constant sweating makes sure that the body can easily regulate temperatures without much fuss and in the process make you a bit more comfortable during those awful summers.
7. Pain Relief
Ever had those specific pain points wherein no matter what you do, the pain always sticks on?! Try sweating it out. Working out stimulates neuro-chemical pathways in the brain releasing endorphins that act as natural pain-killers. This helps to ease the soreness in the regions wherein you have acute pains. People especially feel relieved from those seemingly incurable kinks in the neck and shoulder areas after work-outs. With time your body starts feeling accustomed to this relief induced by exercising. As your overall fitness improves there might be lesser reasons for you to take external pain medications.
6. Blood pressure control
Sweating boosts the circulation of blood in your body. It helps maintain blood pressure by ejecting out excess sodium through sweat which is the main reason for increased blood pressure levels. Sweat also releases cholesterol which helps in lowering your risks for heart problems. Sauna induced sweating has been recommended to people with high blood pressures to regulate the levels. It also has a reciprocal effect. For people who consume low amounts of sodium, sweating will lead to the release of sodium resulting in the decrease of already low sodium levels. This will lead the person to consume a high-sodium diet, which is necessary in this case.
5. Caloric expenditure
Sweating is a sign that your body is exerting itself. Sweating induced due to exercise is because the body is increasing its energy expenditure with increased caloric expenditure. This is a very important factor if you are concerned with maintaining a well balanced body weight. Sweating because of high temperatures means that your body is expending more calories in pumping blood to your skin. It is also a noteworthy point that working out in warm temperatures results in higher caloric expenditure.
4. Lowers risks of Kidney stones
Sweating helps to lower the risks of kidney stone. This is because excess levels of sodium are released through sweat and helps retaining calcium in our bones. This prevents the accumulation of calcium and sodium in the kidneys and urine leading to the formation of stones. Also excessive sweating demands hydration from the body which means increased consumption of fluids which flushes out the sodium. This itself acts as a preventive measure against stones and cuts the risk factor of developing stones.
Sweating has an anti-biotic effect. Antibiotic peptides released through sweat is effective against viruses, bacteria and fungi. These peptides are positively charged and attract the negatively charged pathogens, enter their membranes and break them down. This leads to their destruction and renders them ineffective even before their arrival inside the body. Thus sweating reduces the chances of your catching colds and other common diseases. Perspiration also helps in fighting the germs of tuberculosis and other deadly diseases. These natural antibiotics are activated in salty, slightly acidic sweat and happen to be more effective in the long term because the germs are less likely to develop resistance against them.
2. Mood enhancing
Everyone feels good after exercising right? This is because of the release of endorphins or feel-good hormones into the blood stream. Regular physical activity boosts the endorphin levels in our body and improves our mood and ensures a healthy mental atmosphere along with good physical conditions. The human brain associates being warm with a sense of well-being and relaxation. This is because of temperature sensitive neural circuits in the brain that play an important role in mood enhancement.
1. Toxin removal
This is the major, most important benefit of sweating. Sweating helps to flush out toxins like salts, cholesterol and alcohol from the system that might result in bloating and clogging of ours arteries. It might also help with that week-end hangover you are going through. Environmental pollutants like BPA (Bisphenol-A) and DEHP, which are detrimental to our health is effectively eliminated from our body through sweat and urine. In fact these days induced sweating is a process that is used to detoxify the body. Sweat analysis is being seen as a potential way of monitoring the presence of toxic elements in the body. Expulsion of toxins supports proper immune system and prevents diseases which are caused due to toxin overload. Profuse sweating also helps in decreasing body odor (Wow!) Foul body odor is technically due to the removal of toxins and not apparently your natural scent. Hence living a clean lifestyle with minimal exposure to environmental and dietary toxins will make your sweat almost odorless.