Ever Wonder If Sweating Can Actually Help You Lose Weight? Here’s Your Answer
There are tons of different methods out there when it comes to weight loss. People are willing to try just about anything in order to lose weight. They’ll swear off carbohydrates forever, fast for many hours, and take crazy-sounding supplements in the hopes that the pounds will just fall off. Some people are even convinced that excess sweating will help them lose weight. They run to hot yoga classes, hang out in saunas, and do tons and tons of cardio in order to sweat buckets.
But does sweating really help you lose weight? Should you be trying to sweat more often in order to shed a few extra pounds? We break down the basics for you so you never have to wonder again.
What Are the Benefits of Sweating?
Sweat serves a very specific function in the body. Think of it as your personal air conditioning system. Sweating helps regulate your internal temperature — when you get too hot, you sweat in order to cool down safely. Our bodies contain between 2-4 million sweat glands in the layer under the skin, and these glands excrete sweat when you’re in need of a cooler.
Now for the benefits of sweating. When you get hot and sweaty after a workout, you increase the blood flow circulating through your body. That means oxygen and nutrients are being flushed everywhere from head to toe. In turn, your skin cells are nourished and you could see clearer, more glowing skin the next time you look in the mirror. Sweating also boosts your mood, gives you more energy, and helps you detox a lot of the nasty toxins stored in your body.
How Many Calories Do You Burn When You Sweat?
Sweating goes hand in hand with working out vigorously, but do you burn more calories when you sweat a lot during a workout? The short answer is, no, you won’t necessarily burn more calories because you’re sweating buckets. How many calories you burn depends on your activity, not the amount of sweat left on your t-shirt at the end of the day.
For example, you’ve probably heard that you burn thousands of calories in a hot yoga class because the temperature reaches above 100 degrees Fahrenheit and you’re profusely dripping all over your yoga mat. However, studies have shown that women only burn an average of 330 calories during a 90-minute Bikram hot yoga class, and men only burn 460 calories. That’s not nearly as many calories as you’d think would be zapped in a class with that much sweat.
So at the end of the day, calorie burning isn’t measured by sweat. We hate to break it to you, but you won’t burn a bunch of calories just by sitting in a sauna. Instead of focusing on the amount of sweat coming from your skin, think about doing high-intensity workouts and strength training in order to build up lean muscle mass.
Can Sweating Be Bad For You?
There’s such thing as sweating too much. You could face dehydration if you’re not drinking enough water, and it’s more common than you might think. It’s easy to forget to sip your water if you’re working out excessively or you get lost relaxing in a steam room. But dehydration comes with serious consequences if you let it get out of hand. Common symptoms include headache, extreme exhaustion or confusion, dizziness, loss of consciousness, change in pulse (either weak or rapid), not urinating for several hours, and even seizure.
Why Do Some People Sweat More Than Others?
Have you ever noticed that your friend or neighbor in a workout class is sweating way more than you? Don’t worry, it’s normal. Not everyone sweats the same amount. There are a lot of factors that determine how much you sweat. Your weight and fitness level have the most influence on your sweat levels. People who are overweight tend to sweat more because there’s more body mass to cool down and the body needs to use more energy to complete a workout. However, people who are very fit start sweating earlier than the average person because their bodies have become very efficient at regulating internal temperature. Plus, sweating sooner will allow you to sustain your workout for longer.
The Final Word
At the end of the day, burning calories and losing weight has to do with being in a calorie deficit, eating a healthy diet, and working out regularly. Sweating is a happy byproduct of a solid workout, but it shouldn’t be the focus or your main goal.