It's common place to begin perspiring after strenuous exercises, but have you ever wondered what sweat is made of? Is sweat water, is sweat salt or is sweat urine? Let's find out!
Homeostasis is the process by which the body maintains a stable internal environment. This internal environment is composed of many factors including PH, energy production and temperature. Our body temperature is on average around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
If our body temperature moves above or below that temperature too much our body's will try to correct that change. One of the primary ways that the body is able to lower temperature in the event that it gets too high is by releasing sweat.
What's Sweat Made Of?
You're likely familiar with what sweat looks and feels like but do you know what it's composed of?
Water is the primary component, it makes up 99% of sweat.
Sweat contains salts, such as sodium, chloride, and potassium, which explains the salty taste that people experience.
Sweat also contains urea, which is produced by the body when it brakes down proteins from the foods that you eat.
Incidentally, these same components are found in urine which is generated by the kidneys.
So, is urine sweat? Yup!
Urine and sweat essentially contain the same chemicals but in different concentrations!
When thinking back to the time that you were sweating, I'm guessing that the most obvious times were those when the temperature around you was high, or when you were performing some exercises or activity.
Sweat cools the body as it evaporates from the skin. Evaporation is the process of a liquid turning into a gas. During evaporation, the surface of the skin will typically become cooler as the sweat leaves.
By doing this, the body can assist in cooling off and maintaining the standard body temperature. Usually, when we sweat the body will continue this process until either the temperature around us has lowered or the physical activity has stopped.
Since sweat is a major factor in homeostasis, a lack of sweat can be dangerous to your health. Individuals who do not produce sweat experience a condition known as anhidrosis.
Do Fit People Sweat More?
How much you sweat depends on five things:
- How many sweat glands you have
- Your gender
- How anxious you're feeling
- How hot it is
- How intensely you're working out
It turns out that fit men sweat a lot more than fit women. A man and woman may have the same amount of sweat glands, but each gland will produce less sweat for the woman.
Fit people sweat more efficiently by sweating sooner into a workout. However, a sedentary person will heat up a faster than a fit person and probably sweat more.
Overweight individuals will also sweat a lot more than normal weight people as fat acts as an insulator and raises the core temperature. Ideal for the winter months, but not so good on a treadmill in the middle of summer.
How To Stop Sweating So Much
Many people dislike sweating. It can be embarrassing to see the wet marks it leave on clothes and the feel on the skin.
Some things are in your control with regards to sweating more than you'd like to.
- Coffee causes you to sweat more, so cut that down
- Alcohol can make you sweat more
- As well as cigarettes
So, if you go on a chain smoking all night drinking session, and then have a strong coffee the next day to recover...
It's probably not best to do too much exercise if you're concerned about sweating too much.
(Not that you'd be much good at exercising anyway).
There are also a few other ways of keeping yourself nice and cool by using other thermoregulatory methods of the body.
- Place your wrists under a cold tap and let the cold water flow over them
- Place a cold towel on the back of your neck
- If you're struggling to sleep in hot weather, sleep with a dampened cloth like the Egyptians did.
If you're at work or in social situations, then you might not be able to use any of these techniques. If that's the case, then make sure you watch the great video below by Alpha. M. He gives you lots of tips to help hide any embarrassing sweaty situations.