Does Sweating Help You Lose Weight?
Does sweating help you lose weight? While it's true that sweating can help you lose weight, the answer is not so simple.
It's difficult to tell if those calories really come from the sweat itself or are burned because you were in motion. To find the real answer to this question, you need to understand how much energy sweating really uses up.
What Causes Sweating?
When we get hot, we sweat. Whether it's from a yoga class or the sun beating down on the back, the body naturally sweats as a way to cool down.
Sweat comes from two types of glands — the eccrine glands and the apocrine glands. Eccrine glands are located all over the body, and most of the sweat comes from these glands. Apocrine glands, meanwhile, are found mostly in areas that tend to sweat more — the armpits, breasts, and groin.
As you sweat, the body tries to cool down. When you're nervous, you probably sweat, as that helps the body prepare for a fight or flight response. That's because the nervous system tells the body to release chemicals like salt and proteins through the sweat glands.
Is Sweating Enough to Lose Weight?
Sweating doesn't burn a ton of calories. While it does take energy to transport the ions that allow water to move into glands and be secreted as sweat, it's not enough to make a difference in how you feel or what you weigh. Sweat is just a sign that the body has lost water but not body fat.
The body's natural response to exercising is to generate heat and sweat. That happens when you do a high-intensity activity or a low-intensity activity — it doesn't matter how long you're working out. The more intense the activity, the more calories the body burns and the more likely you're to break a sweat.
The amount of sweat you produce isn't necessarily an accurate measure of how many calories you've burned during exercise.
A study published in the journal Sports Medicine found that even though some people sweat more than others, a great workout doesn't necessarily correlate with high levels of perspiration. It depends on how intensely you exercised and for how long.
Even if you don't break a sweat at all, you can still get a good workout if you push yourself hard enough. If you do sweat a lot, it's possible that your body simply cooled itself down quickly.
Sweat is the body's natural response to temperature changes. It allows the body to cool itself, helping regulate temperature within a normal range. If you're really sweating, you must be burning more calories than usual — but that doesn't mean you should count on sweat as your primary indicator of success.
Eventually, weight loss is about calories in vs calories out. If you're trying to lose weight, your primary focus needs to be cutting calories from your diet so that you burn more than you consume.
Sweating is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, especially if you're working out regularly. How much you sweat and the color of your sweat are not necessarily good indicators of how many calories you've burned (or how hard a workout was).
If you want to know exactly how many calories you're burning during a workout, do some research on the burning rate of different exercises.