Workout Wednesday: Sweating During a Workout – Is More Better?

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.

Image courtesy of Photodisc on Thinkstock
Image courtesy of Photodisc on Thinkstock

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. Each Wednesday we swap blog posts with the Tar Heel 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.

WORKOUT WEDNESDAY: Group Fitness with Campus Recreation – Absolution

This blog post was written by Emily Wheeler and is published as part of our blog exchange with Tar Heel Tone-Up.

Since the year is new, we’re going back to the basics and introducing some of the opportunities offered by Campus Recreation. We know we’ve written about them before, but we also know that they get buried in the archives of articles every year, so we want to make sure everyone gets a chance to learn about opportunities and get involved!

One of the coolest things that Campus Rec has to offer students is a huge variety of FREE group fitness classes every week! These classes are taught by trained fitness instructors who are students, just like you. They take place in the fitness studios in Ram’s Head Recreation Center and the Student Recreation Center, as well as select classes in Woolen gym and Bowman Gray pool.

Cute Couple - Fitness Instructor and Weightlifter
Photo: “Cute Couple – Fitness Instructor and Weightlifter” by DigiNik13, Flickr Creative Commons.

Course offerings include:

  • Pilates
  • Cycle
  • Step
  • Barre
  • Absolution
  • Zumba
  • Cardio Blast
  • Lower Body Conditioning
  • Yoga
  • Muscle Cut Barbells
  • Kick’n Sculpt
  • Muscle Cut
  • Upper Body Conditioning
  • Tai Chi
  • H2O Dance
  • Mindful Yoga
  • KickHIIT (HIIT = High Intensity Interval Training)
  • Power Yoga
  • Cardio Dance
  • Kickboxing
  • 3-2-1
  • Water Aerobics

As you can see, there are a ton of options available, so you can choose what interests you! Some classes have varying levels of difficulty: for example, power yoga is more difficult than mindful yoga, and Cycle classes and Kick’n Sculpt are extremely heavy on the cardio intensity. However, all classes are open to people of all levels of fitness. You are not required to complete every move or exercise and there are always modifications to make each exercise easier or more difficult.

I’ll feature some brief reviews of various classes in coming articles as the semester gets off to a fast start! For starters, I’ll review the shortest, but quite possibly the most intense, class we offer: Absolution.

Absolution:

This class might only last for 15-20 minutes, but your core will be absolutely on fire the entire time! The exercises are organized by songs; for example, for the first song, the focus might be on plank exercises. For the second, it might be on different types of crunches. The plank song always gets to me! You stay up in plank position for the entire 4 minutes of the song and do variations such as “thread the needle,” side plank, and hip dips side to side. I really like planks because they work your entire core, which includes your oblique (sides) and back muscles!

When we say “core muscles,” we often just think of our stomachs and abs, but a strong core is supported both by strong abdominal and back muscles to support proper posture. I always think it’s crazy to consider that the gap in your skeleton between your rib cage and your hip bones consists only of your spine, yet this part of our bodies is comprised of so many important organs and we rely on a strong canister of muscle to hold it all together and upright. The human body is incredible, people… treat yours nicely.

They love to use this one movement where you’re balancing on your bum with your feet and torso up off of the ground and you pulse your hands up and down beside your knees. This one has me shaking in a matter of seconds and one song of the class makes sure to include that movement in the sequence at least 6 times. The last song is almost always dedicated to the back muscles, so we all flop over on our stomachs like the limp fish we resemble and do “Superman” raises until the song, and the class, mercifully ends with a collective exhale accompanied by a flop of exhausted limbs hitting the gym floor.

If you don’t believe me, check out Absolution at any of these times to experience the burn for yourself!

Monday:

1:05 – 1:20 in Woolen B19

6:10 – 6:30 in SRC Studio A

Tuesday:

1:05 – 1:20 in SRC Studio B

6:25 – 6:45 in SRC Studio A

Wednesday:

6:10 – 6:30 in SRC Studio A

Thursday:

1:05 – 1:20 in SRC Studio B

6:25 – 6:45 in SRC Studio A

Saturday:

5:00 – 5:20 in SRC Studio B

This is an absolutely killer core workout and one of my favorite group fitness classes offered by Campus Rec! You will leave both exhausted and proud of your body! It also is short enough that you can conveniently combine it with your own cardio workout by running to the gym and back! Keep checking back for more group fitness reviews and information!