Sweat With Pride! Benefits of Sweating

The first month of New Year’s resolutions is in full force and so is the sweat. No matter what your fitness goals are, take pride in your hard work and shine on!

Here are 12 reasons why breaking a sweat is so sweet.

1. Sweat Keeps Us Alive: Sweat helps maintain a normal body temperature when your body is warming up while you’re working your muscles. When sweat evaporates, it controls your body from overheating and lowers your core temperature.

2. It Fights Inflammation: Inflammation can have negative effects on your metabolism and cardiovascular fitness, but sweating causes a chain of positive reactions in your body: heart rate increases causing blood flow and strength, and helps repair damaged muscle tissues by fortifying healthy proteins and producing new ones.

3. Sweating Gives You More Energy: The fitter you are, the faster you’ll sweat. According to Lawrence Armstrong, Ph.D., Director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, “When you sweat early into your workout, it means you’re able to regulate your temperature before it gets too high, which requires less energy.” Saving energy early on in your workout will give you a boost of energy later on when you need it most.

4. You’ll Boost Your Strength: Sweat is 99 percent water and 1 percent salt, potassium, and carbs. Sodium helps balance the amount of water inside and outside your cells, as well as in your blood, in order to keep your body hydrated. If you lose too much of sodium, muscle cramps emerge and you’ll start feeling fatigued, but the more you sweat, the better your body conserves salt.

5. Faster Recovery: Harder workouts that make you sweat will increase flood flow and will be able to carry more metabolites – by-products from exercise-induced muscle damage- away from your muscles and help you feel less sore.

6. Sweating Keeps your Liver Healthy: If you’ve had a night of drinking or overindulges, a good sweat session is one of the best ways to detox. While secreting waste through sweat glands in a single workout won’t make a big difference, consistent cardio exercise helps protect your liver.

7. Sweating Helps Guard Against Infections: Research shows that 70 percent of bacteria found in the gym can make you sick, but sweat contains a natural antibiotic called dermcidin, which can help protect you from harmful pathogens.

8. You’ll Feel More Focused on Your Workout: The sweat induced by a tough workout will make you feel like you’re more connected to your body and the work that it’s doing. While many people can feel self-conscious about their appearance, it’s a good reminder that your hard work is paying off which is more important than worrying about a drenched shirt.

9. Sweat is a Symbol of Hard Work: While it may take time to visibly see the results of our efforts, sweat is symbolic of the amount of effort that you’ve put in. Whether it be a damp forehead or soaked tank, it’s proof that your workout was time well spent and you’ve got the sweat to prove it.

10. It Helps Build Self-Image: According to a study published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise, all it takes is 20 minutes of sweaty activity to feel stronger and slimmer. Moderate to vigorous exercise releases endorphins that help improve your mood.

11. Sweat Hydrates Your Skin: The residual oil that’s produced by sweat protects your skin, even after you’ve rinsed off. Sweat also acts as a barrier which can help prevent bacteria, but make sure you wash your face after your workout because the longer you allow sweat to sit on your skin, the more prone you are to breakouts.

12. Sweat Makes You Comfortable in Your Skin: Sweat is a natural physiological occurrence when your body is working overtime to regulate body temps and functions. Sweating isn’t typically seen as an attractive attribute, especially when your hair is in a mess and your makeup is smudged, but the evident effort helps promote confidence and self-esteem.

This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of Women’s Health.