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Family Sports & Fitness

The Sweat Stuff

Trust us. Most everyone sweats when they work out. In fact, the more in-shape you are, the more you sweat.

Muscle contractions generate heat, and if you exercise regularly you’re likely to start sweating sooner because your body has been programmed to anticipate your need for faster cooling. Plus, your blood volume is higher than non-exercisers, so you’ve got more fluid pumping through your system to do the job.

Measuring the drops
Sweat output during exercise can range from around 7 to 12 fluid ounces per hour, making hydration a critical part of the healthy equation. The American College of Sports Medicine provides these rough guidelines: Two to three hours before exercise, drink 14 – 20 ounces (2-3 glasses) of water. Drink 8 – 10 ounces of water every 15 minutes during exercise; afterwards, drink 23 fluid ounces for every pound of body weight you lost during your workout. Water replenishes best, unless you’ve been undergoing a strenuous workout for more than an hour, and then you may need a low-sugar sports drink with 500 – 700 mg of sodium/33 fluid ounces.

Sweat smart

  • Wear breathable clothing. New clothing lines offer materials that pull perspiration from the skin and push it through the fabric for more efficient evaporation. But cotton generally works just fine.
  • Let your sweat flow during workouts. Avoid applying antiperspirants before a workout (but do consider a deodorant to mask odors).
  • Don’t trap the heat and sweat with sauna suits or excessive clothing. Allow your body to cool naturally.

Eww! Why do I stink?

Sweat is made almost completely of water, with tiny amounts of other chemicals like ammonia and urea (what’s left after your body breaks down protein), plus salts and sugar. When sweat evaporates through the pores in your skin, you cool down. The sweat itself doesn’t stink, it’s the bacteria that’s on your skin that mixes with the liquid sweat and smells. When you reach puberty, new hormones that affect the glands in your armpits CAN make your perspiration smell bad. To control the odor, just wash regularly with soap and water, and wear a deodorant that contains an antiperspirant. If you sweat a lot, especially after playing hard or on a hot day, drink plenty of water so you don’t get dehydrated.  

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