Sweat: 5 Hidden Benefits
Breaking a sweat isn’t only good for shedding those extra pounds. Whether in the gym, on the stairs, or in your office, sweating can help provide many mental and physical health benefits. Here’s how perspiration can give your health a boost:
Regulation of Body Temperature
One of the most critical functions of sweat is to regulate body temperature, serving as the body’s natural HVAC system. During high-intensity workouts, the body generates high levels of heat to power us through the exercise. The process of evaporating liquid off the skin is an efficient mechanism for removing heat from the body and protecting it from overheating. The body also cools down its temperature with sweat when you are in a hot environment such as a tropical rainforest or an arid region during the afternoon.
You never know the importance of sweating until you can’t sweat. Experts say that inability to sweat while performing even moderate activity, can make you overheat within 10 minutes. Overheating can lead to dizziness, skin rash, heat stroke, kidney problems, loss of consciousness, and can be fatal in extreme cases.
Protects You Against Infections
The simple act of sweating does more than help keep your body temperature stable; it can also prevent you from catching a cold and other common infections. Scientists have found that human sweat contains dermicin, a naturally-occurring peptide with antimicrobial properties, that is effective in combating harmful pathogens such as the tuberculosis germ, E. coli, and others. Dermicin kills germs on contact, making sweat far more efficient at protecting you from harmful infections in the gym than any sanitizer.
Flushes Toxins Out of the Body
Sweating may also be a powerful way to detoxify your body and make your liver more efficient at doing its job. Researchers believe that perspiration helps to get rid of excess salt, alcohol, and cholesterol along with the heat and water. While the number of toxins you can flush out through sweat is small, you can increase the detoxifying power of perspiration by regularly engaging in exercises that induce high amounts of sweating such as circuit training or indoor cycling.
Did you know that sweating could be as effective as ibuprofen? Sweating can also help blast off pain from your body, according to research. Perspiration can do this because the physical process of working up a sweat also stimulates the brain to release endorphins, which are natural painkillers. As you exercise more, and the level of endorphins becomes higher, your pain starts to ease gradually until it eventually disappears. In the Medical Fitness program in my clinic we push patients to sweat to increase endorphins and help any last pain they may be feeling.
Improves Your Mood
It is well-known that exercise stimulates the release of the body’s happy hormones, and that’s one of the reasons why working out is a powerful stress buster. However, research suggests that specific regions of the brain have temperature-sensitive neural circuits that have a significant impact on mood control. So if you are down or become overwhelmed by life’s troubles, give yourself a quick fix of feel-good chemicals with a run or sweat-breaking workout in the gym.
Sweating is more than a mess that leaves your body with a foul smell. It’s a sophisticated survival mechanism which your body uses to protect you from infections, relieve pain, make you happy, and ultimately keep you alive.