I have never been one to sweat much. I can go out in 100-degree weather, do an 8-mile hike, and my back will be little more than slightly damp, and my forehead may be glistening. Despite my lack of perspiring, my heart rate of 150-165 during a run tells me that I am working hard. Want to know a quick way to infuriate somebody who is busting their ass working out but not dripping? Tell them they must not be working hard enough to break a sweat and to up it a notch. OMG, I want to tell them where they can shove it! I’m sure at least some of you out there can relate!
Just recently, on one of my scorching hot runs, I began to wonder why some people sweat more than others. After all, it has to be more than just how hard you work, right? There have to be other factors at play.
WHY SOME PEOPLE SWEAT MORE
Sweat is the body’s natural way of trying to cool down. People have between 2-4 million sweat glands over their bodies. Women have more sweat glands than men, but men tend to sweat more due to their glands producing more of it. Men also tend to naturally have higher muscle mass (so unfair, right!?!?), which affects how much sweating is going down. Several factors determine how much someone sweats. These include gender, number of sweat glands, how intensely you are working out, and the temperature around you.
The type of workout you are doing can also affect how much you sweat. If a fit person and an unfit person are both doing the same 6mph run, the unfit person will sweat more. However, if the unfit person is running at 6mph, and the fit person is running at 8mph, the fit person will sweat more. What you wear can also make a difference. When running or working out, it is best to opt for clothing that is more breathable.
Other factors can also impact how much you sweat. Caffeine, alcohol, and smoking all contribute to sweating more heavily. So if you’re laying heavy on the morning coffee, late-night cocktails, or a smoker, consider cutting back and seeing if it makes a difference for you.
Making sure you are adequately hydrated also has an impact on sweating. If you are dehydrated, you won’t sweat as much as your friend drinking a gallon a day. Seriously, do those people live by the toilet? I feel like I’d be living by the toilet!
If the temperatures are extremely hot, you will also sweat more than you would in cooler weather. Hotter temps come with their own set of risks, as talked about in 9 Tips for Running in the Summer Heat.
POTENTIAL DANGER OF NOT SWEATING
If you aren’t sweating much if at all, there are some risks to be aware of. Most dangerously is that you are at a higher risk of heatstroke because your body is not cooling itself properly. Always be aware and be safe if you feel you are at risk.
Everybody sweats in different amounts, and there is a wide range that is considered normal. More than likely, you fall somewhere within this range. So if you are one to break a sweat without getting drenched, more than likely, it is nothing to be concerned about. If the amount you are (or are not) sweating does have you worried, never hesitate to contact your doctor.