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There’s a science to sweat? Absolutely, and understanding how and why we sweat can give us important information related to exercise, hydration and fitness.

Sweat is not an indicator of intensity, length of exercise, or effectiveness of exercise.

I’ve been asked so many times over the years about sweat, and heard the comment, “I’m sweating so I must be working hard, right?” Not necessarily. Sweat is a poor indicator of exercise intensity and not a good indicator of exercising at an appropriate level. I’ll give you an example through a personal story. From sixth grade through my senior year of high school, I played organized basketball alongside my best friend. We had very different roles on all of those teams. I was about nine inches taller than him.

Through all of those years of intense practices and summer break workouts, I would be soaking with sweat, often 10 minutes into practice. I would sweat so much I could see it pouring out of the air holes in my shoes. I’d look at my best friend and he’d be nearly dry, little to no sweat on his brow and no sweat stains on his clothes. The lesson I learned, and it’s not rocket science, is that we all have different sweat responses. Sweat is no more an indicator of intensity, than it is of length of exercise, or effectiveness of exercise.

This article from the American College of Sports Medicine simply breaks down our sweat response. It includes a link to recommendations for hydration that might be helpful for some of you. Proper hydration is so important regardless of the season, temperature or exercise.

What makes you sweat?

Contributed by

Phil Hardesty
Exercise Physiologist

Have a healthy, happy and fit week!!

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