Sweating and training – do we have to sweat to make exercise make sense?

Sweating and training – do we have to sweat to make exercise make sense?

Sweating during exercise is a healthy reaction of the body, but some sweat more, some less. But should sweat be an integral part of training, or do we burn calories without a wet forehead?

Sweat and its importance for the body

Do you know someone who would be happy for some drops of sweat on his forehead or a wet T-shirt? Sweat is a natural reaction of the organism to a hot environment, demanding training or other physical activitySweating or perspiration is the way the body cools down. The sweat glands respond to an increase in body temperature, so they secrete a fluid that contains not only water but also salts, sugar, urea and ammonia. Although the saline fluid on our body can annoy us, it is a healthy reaction of the body to overheating. [1] [2]

Perspiration is basically a refined way of our body to use water in the organism to regulate temperature. However, in addition to the usual rate of sweating, there are also states of increased and decreased perspiration – hyperhydrosis and hypohydrosis. [2] [3] [4] 

  1. Hyperhydrosis is another term for increased sweating, which affects very few people but is a treatable disease. It can be primary hyperhydrosis, which begins in childhood and is hereditary in a large proportion of people. There is also a secondary one, which can be a side effect of drugs or caused by a disease, such as adrenal disorders, heart disease, or menopause.
  2. Hypohydrosis or also called anhydrosis, is the body’s inability to make sweat. This condition can be the result of nerve damage, which also affects the function of the sweat glands. Nerve damage can be caused by a number of diseases or disorders, such as alcoholism, diabetes or amyloidosis.
Sweat and its importance for the body

There are three types of sweat glands [1][5]:

  1. Eccrine glands – cover the entire human body and extend directly to the skin.
  2. Apocrine glands – they extend into the hair follicles, are larger and are located, for example, in the armpit, head, face or groin.
  3. Apoeccrine glands – develop from eccrine glands, are of medium size and have the properties of eccrine and apocrine glands. They are found only in the armpit area.

Sticky feeling on the body, maps on clothes or an unpleasant odor are the most common negatives of sweating. In addition to cooling the body, perspiration also has other benefits that may surprise you [2] [6] [7] [8]:

  • Sweating during exercise – Regular training has several benefits, including better mood, sleep or weight maintenance. In addition, sweating in the gym is associated with the releasing endorphins, which are also a kind of “natural painkiller“. Speaking of the hormones of happiness, sweating and rising body temperature cause them to be released. Even though it doesn’t seem like it, sweating improves our mood in a way.
  • It helps heal wounds – the University of Michigan has discovered that sweat glands contain stem cells, which can be useful during wound closure.
  • Prevents infections – sweat contains the antimicrobial peptide dermcidin, which helps the body fight bacteria and infections. Sweating can be beneficial, for example, in preventing colds or scratches, or in mosquito bites. As a result, sweating can support our immune system.
  • It increases attractiveness – it sounds absurd, but at the University of Berkeley they did research and gave women a smell of androstadienone (a chemical substance in sweat). As a result, they had higher levels of hormones that increase sexual arousal. I guess the results would be different if they got a T-shirt after the 12 hour shift in the sun.
  • Removes chemicals and heavy metals – Studies have shown that sweat can shed the body of chemicals such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) or BPA (bisphenol A). Research from 2016 suggests that lower levels of heavy metals have been found in people who exercise regularly. Along with urination, sweating is a possible method of releasing heavy metals from the body. Behind this conclusion is the finding that metals were found in sweat and urine, but their concentrations were higher in sweat.
  • It rids the body of toxins – in addition to chemicals, sweat can expel other toxins from the body according to research, such as salts, cholesterol or alcohol. Have you come across the thought that dancing helps get rid of alcohol? Apparently it won’t be dancing, but sweating during the dance. It also means that proper sweat training can help a person get rid of alcohol after a busy party and a subsequent hangover.

One often associates sweating with a typical odor, but the sweat itself is odorless. Behind the unpleasant smell is the multiplication of bacteria and the breakdown of sweat into acids. When we talk about the smell associated with sweating, we can not miss the feet. Wearing shoes and socks prevents sweat from evaporating, bacteria multiply and break down sweat into odorous substances. In addition to bacteria and sweat, the cause of odor can also be fungi, whose risk of spreading increases with “wet feet”. [9]

Sweating and training

Sweating and training

Have you ever left the gym and evaluated your training according to the sweaty T-shirt? The well-known myth of sweating with training probably doesn’t need much introduction. If you don’t go to the locker room completely wet, you haven’t done your best. Do you know this case? We may disappoint you, but the level of sweating is not a credible criterion when judging calories burned. Each of us sweats to a different extent and more sweat on our foreheads does not automatically mean more calories burned. [10]

In addition to personal specifics, the environment in which you exercise also plays an important role in sweating. In places with high humidity, you will feel like you are sweating more because your sweat will not evaporate so quickly. The opposite situation will occur at the end of November in freezing weather, when you burn calories and return home in a dry T-shirt. [12]

In this case, it is also true that with better condition comes a higher ability of the body to cool down. How will you see this change? You will start to sweat less, even though you are doing exactly the same. Improving your form and fitness during training is natural, so try to increase your intensity. Don’t you need to constantly raise the level and pursue better results? Training and its level is entirely up to you, it’s a matter of priority, but you don’t have to worry that less sweat is logically less results. [11]

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How to prepare for sweat during training?

Whether you sweat more or less during training, here are some tips to help you better prepare for sweat during exercise [13]:

  1. 1. Proper clothing – you can train in anything that does not limit your movement and in which you feel good. However, sportswear manufacturers pay attention to comfort during training, so they are constantly developing new technologies and materials. Breathability of the material is not just a marketing ploy to attract a higher price.Try to buy sportswear and see for yourself the benefits. The offer of fitness clothing is wide and depends only on your taste and priorities. The old t-shirt is definitely nice, but the new sports piece may motivate you more.
How to prepare for sweat during training?
  1. 2. Pay attention to hydration – in order to sweat adequately during training, you must logically absorb fluids. Dehydration is relatively common in humans and many even know about it. Try to ensure sufficient fluid intake, not only during training days.

Want to know more about proper hydration? Read our article – Hydration before, during, after training and how to avoid dehydration.

Pay attention to hydration

3. Forget about cosmetics – this is a challenge especially for ladies, it is not suitable for adequate sweating if you block the pores with various products or makeup. If you have the time and space, try to prepare your body and especially your face for training sweating.

How to prevent excessive sweating?

Sweating is affected by several factors, younger people or men sweat more than seniors and women. The amount of salty fluids on the body also depends on genetics, your weight or the type of training. But what if you don’t like a sweaty T-shirt and it is not pleasant for you? Try a deodorant or antiperspirant to prevent sweating in the first place. In addition, you can influence several factors, such as a change in room temperature or use a towel that will completely rid you of sweat during training. It helps to wear breathable and sweat-wicking material or exercise outside the hot parts of the day. Do you mind jogging in the heat because you hate running so sweaty? Maybe you could try training early in the morning or late in the evening. Each of us is different, and we perceive our sweating differently, but it is important that sweat does not hinder the fulfillment of our fitness goals. [14]

Are you considering morning training and worried about disadvantages? Read the article to learn all the benefits of morning exercise 9 reasons to exercise in the morning.

Workouts during which you are guaranteed to sweat

We’ve given tips to prevent sweating, but what about you who don’t mind sweating and literally expect it? We have a selection of activities for you, which by their nature guarantee that the thread will not stay dry on you.

  1. 1. Bikram yoga– A type of yoga known for being called hot yoga”, as well as its ability to draw sweat out of you. You can’t think about how it is possible to sweat more during yoga? If you have imagined a quick change of positions, you are wrong. The term “hot yoga” is accurate due to the temperature and humidity in the rooms. Bikram yoga is practiced at 32 – 40 ° C and 40% humidity. It performs 26 positions and 2 breathing exercises, but the key is temperature and humidity. It may sound simple, but imagine a workout in which you can burn up to 330 (women) or 460 (men) calories. [15] [16] [18]
  1. 2. Spinning – cycling can generally be a fun activity where you sweat a lot. In addition, the bike is a great choice for morning training on the way to work or school. However, spinning exercises are different, if you don’t mind the instructions and you like to train with dynamic music, try spinning. Thanks to spinning, you can burn 400 to 500 calories in just 40 minutes, be part of a team, strengthen your legs and middle body, but also make a “sick pack” on your belly. [15] [16] [19]
Spinning and fat burning
  1. 3. Tabata – can you imagine training where you burn 800 – 950 calories in 28 minutes? It was introduced by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata, and simply put, with a tabata you workout for 20 seconds and alternate it with a 10-second rest. This is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with exercises that last 4 minutes. If you are looking for effective training and you do not have much time for it, try tabata. [15] [17]

Are you interested in tabata and want to know more about it? Read our article – Tabata: HIIT training that will take you to your goals.

  1. 4. Running – this is one of the most popular types of cardio training, although everyone runs and burns differently, on average about 10 calories per minute are burned during running. In addition to the classic treadmill or sidewalks around your home, you can try running upstairs or uphill. If you replace the elevator and escalator with stairs on the way to work, you will burn enough calories. A 15-minute walk up the stairs can help you burn 65 calories and an hour long run up to 657-819 calories. In addition to calories, running will help strengthen your joints and it is an excellent training for the muscles of the lower limbs. There are several ways to sweat a T-shirt while running, just make a decision. [15] [16] [20]
Running and calories
  1. 5. Football a basketball – team sports are not only a pleasant activity with friends, but moreover an activity that is not unusual to end with a dry T-shirt. You can burn up to 752 – 937 calories per hour with football, and approximately 584 to 728 with basketball. At the same time, they are great for supporting healthy bones, physical motor skills or building a healthy self-confidence. Both sports require working with the body and sprinting, among other things, the result and teammates motivate you to perform better. Fun training on the playground entertains children as well as adults, is relatively accessible and it is a great activity with friends. [16] [21] [22]

Sweating during physical activity is completely natural, because the body needs to cool down. A slightly sweaty T-shirt may not be a sign of insufficient exercise, you burn calories even if you do not “pour” sweat. Whether you prefer activities without “maps” on your clothes or you want to completely destroy yourself and scrounge your shirt, we believe that you have learned everything you need in the article. Do you want your friends to know about sweating and its significance for humans? Feel free to support the article by sharing.


[1] Lindsay B. Baker – Physiology of sweat gland function: The roles of sweating and sweat composition in human health – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6773238/

[2] Shilpa Amin - The Health Benefits of Sweating – https://www.healthline.com/health/sweating-benefits

[3] Xixi Luo – Hyperhidrosis Disorder (Excessive Sweating) – https://www.healthline.com/health/hyperhidrosis

[4] Daniel Murrell – Hypohidrosis (Absent Sweating) – https://www.healthline.com/health/sweating-absent

[5] Sweat glands – https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperhidrosis/multimedia/sweat-glands/img-20007980#:~:text=Subscribe%20to%20Housecall-,Sweat%20glands,the%20surface%20of%20the%20skin.

[6] Lisa Stewart – 10 Amazing Benefits of Sweating You Didn’t Know – https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-amazing-benefits-sweating-you-didnt-know.html

[7] 6 SURPRISING BENEFITS OF SWEATING – https://www.sweatblock.com/benefits-of-sweating/

[8] Alex Pierotti – 5 Benefits Of Sweating That Will Make You Want To Exercise More – https://www.menshealth.com.au/the-benefits-of-sweating

[9] Adam Felman – What’s to know about body odor? – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/173478

[10] Diana Kelly – Does More Sweat = a Better Workout? – https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/does-more-sweat-equal-a-better-workout#1

[11] Julia Frank – Sweating during exercise: what it says about your workout – https://www.vogue.com.au/beauty/wellbeing/sweating-during-exercise-what-it-says-about-your-workout/news-story/98f89206b2ed81667a31ee7610a78cec

[12] Andrea Blair Cirignano, Petra Guglielmetti – How Much Should You Really Sweat During a Workout? – https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/how-much-should-you-really-sweat-during-workout

[13] Lunden Souza – SWEATING AND SPORTS | WHAT IS SWEAT? IS MORE BETTER DURING EXERCISE? – https://www.runtastic.com/blog/en/what-is-sweat/

[14] Daniel Bubnis – Sweating During a Workout: What to Know – https://www.healthline.com/health/sweating-working-out

[15] 10 INTENSE EXERCISES GUARANTEED TO MAKE YOU SWEAT – https://www.sweatblock.com/sweaty-exercises/

[16] Erin Daley – 20 physical activities to make you sweat that are NOT the gym – https://www.msn.com/en-in/health/fitness/20-physical-activities-to-make-you-sweat-that-are-not-the-gym/ss-AAw8JMW#image=4

[17] Fara Rosenzweig – What is Tabata Training? – https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/what-is-tabata-training#:~:text=Each%20exercise%20in%20a%20given,Complete%208%20rounds

[18] Daniel Bubnis – 8 Benefits of Sweating It Out with Hot Yoga – https://www.healthline.com/health/hot-yoga-benefits

[19] The Top 10 Benefits of Spinning® Class – https://spinning.eu/spinlife/the-top-10-benefits-of-spinning-class/

[20] K. Aleisha Fetters, Alison Feller – 12 Benefits of Running That Make You Healthier (and Happier) – https://www.shape.com/fitness/cardio/11-science-backed-reasons-running-really-good-you?

[21] 10 Benefits of Playing Football – https://thecoachcrew.com/benefits-of-playing-football/

[22] Daniel Bubnis – 10 Physical and Mental Benefits of Basketball – https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/benefits-of-basketball

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