There are a lot of misconceptions about your sweat and what it means, so hopefully I can help you understand the salty liquid coming out of your skin.

What is perspiration?

Why does my perspiration smell?

What does perspiration do?

Does perspiration mean I’m getting a good workout?

Can you actually perspire out toxins?

I’ll answer all these questions, but first, let’s understand what sweat is.  Perspiration is 99% water and is our body’s natural way of regulating body heat. Sounds simple enough. Our body functions best at around 98 degrees Fahrenheit and our internal thermostat regulates that by sweating. Perspiration cools us down when the liquid evaporates from our skin, so basically sweat is a good thing.

Now, here are some more interesting facts about your perspiration, I bet you didn’t know.

 

2 Kinds of perspiration

Two different glands produce our perspiration: the eccrine and the apocrine. The eccrine glands are spread all over your body and the apocrine glands are located in your armpits, crotch and scalp. When you workout, your eccrine glands produce sweat that cool you down and this is comprised of water, salt and potassium. Your apocrine glands secrete sweat from hair follicles and is closely related to your fight or flight response. This is referred to as emotional sweating, like when you are nervous or scarred. This liquid is made up of fatty acids and proteins.

 

Not all smell

Since you have two different kinds of perspiration from two completely different glands, your sweat smells different.  Perspiration itself doesn’t smell, but it gets an odor by not evaporating quickly enough and it mixes with bacteria on your skin, which produces a smell. Your apocrine perspiration ends up smelling worse, since that sweat evaporates much slower, so the smell grows.

 

Sweat helps with endurance

Perspiration regulates our core body temperature, meaning that without sweat, we wouldn’t be able to workout for as long. When our body gets too hot and perspires can’t cool it down, it shuts down. Endurance is completely related to your perspiration and its ability to cool you down.

 

It equals good conditioning

Sweating doesn’t mean you are out of shape, in fact it means the opposite. People who perspire a lot are generally in better shape and lots of perspiration just means the body is hot. Many people just run hot, so they are obviously heavy sweaters.

 

Perspiration doesn’t equate to a better workout

The amount of sweat has no bearing on how much you worked out. Some people just have more sweat glands than others so they sweat more. Don’t let the amount you perspire judge how much you workout.   You will perspire more when it’s humid so that doesn’t mean you worked out harder, just means it’s hotter to your body.

 

Can you really sweat out toxins?

Sure, toxins are definitely released when you perspire, but its not the high levels that many believe.  Perspiration is generally water and small amounts of other elements, but there are other toxins in there. Your yoga instructor will tell you that sweating releases all the bad stuff in your body, that’s kind of false. Your urine and feces expel most of your toxins. Sweat does carry out toxins, but its real function is regulating the core body temperature, but by doing this, it makes the actual toxin fighting organs work more properly.

I hope this was informative and the next time you perspire, you have a better understanding of why.

 

Photos courtesy of driving, livestrongosterine, pinterest

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