Many people believe that the more you sweat during a workout, the better. Maybe it’s the idea that sweat is a form of cleansing, ridding the body of toxins. Or perhaps the appeal comes from the idea that increased perspiration will result in increased weight loss. Whatever the reasoning may be, the truth is that sweating alone is provides no health benefits. The positive effects come from the exercise, and the sweating is just a byproduct.
What exactly is sweating, though?
When you exercise and your heart rate increases, your core body temperature rises as well. In order to bring the temperature back down, you sweat. The idea is that the perspiration evaporates, taking the heat along with it. This helps cool you down after an intense run or a strenuous weight-lifting session. But the act of sweating does not amplify an of the health benefits associated with exercise alone.
And what about steam rooms or saunas?
Ah, the sauna. Nothing seems better after a hard workout that to relax in a steam room. While these types of rooms can seem to have health effects due to increased perspiration and skin cleansing, the truth is that these health claims don’t hold up. While it may feel good to take a trip to the sauna after working out, you really aren’t doing much to increase your health.
Next time you jump on an elliptical or lace up your running shoes, focus more on your form than on how much you sweat. Ready to get your workout on? Check out the UNC Fitness Center hours and make 2014 your healthiest year yet.
Workout Wednesday blog posts are written by UNC Campus Recreation staff members. Each Wednesday we’ll be swapping blog posts with the Tarheel Tone Up blog so that readers can view more diverse post topics that will benefit their health and wellness. Workout Wednesday blog posts can be found both here and on tarheeltoneup.com.