Saturday, April 4, 2009

Is it necessary to sweat?

They say “opposites attract” – Guess its true…My friend hardly sweats after an intense aerobic session, but me – I literally rain on myself! So, is it necessary to sweat while you are working out?
To start with, sweating is a mechanism (thermoregulation) used by the body to maintain the normal core body temperature (homeostasis), of around 37o C, which is prone to fluctuate especially with intense activities which generate a lot of heat while generating energy.
So, sweating means that the body is allowing itself to cool down and maintain the status quo.
What happens during intense activities is that the blood flow to skin (larger surface area) increases, so as to dissipate heat, and at the same time the sweat glands increase their output. The process of evaporation takes place on the skin – and as the sweat evaporates, it cools the body. So, sweating is actually a good sign.
Infact if you don’t sweat much, you must take care to take some breaks, sip water (not drink!) so that your core body temperature does not go too high.

Incase the temperature goes very high, either due to excessive sweating and loss of water or due to no sweating, sometimes dehydration also sets in, which may lead to heat strokes or other problems. The basic symptoms include feeling dizzy, nausea, high pulse rate, hyperventilation etc. The body uses these as its own natural mechanism to ensure that the body temperature and the safety of our internal organs is maintained.
Excessive sweating also causes loss of salts from the body. It is advisable to limit yourself to sipping water and that too just 3-4 times in an hour, since excessive water will further dilute the available salt content in the blood. This can lead to another condition – hyponatremia (less salt in body) which could lead again to dizziness, nausea, headache, muscle weakness etc.
So a safer bet is to hydrate yourself through out the day, and not just drink while working out since you are thirsty!

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