Is Sweating Good for You? Experts Weigh In

Is Sweating Good for You? Experts Weigh In

Is Sweating Good for You? Experts Weigh In

Whenever people think of sweating, hot and sticky are the only words that come to their minds. However, not many people realize that there are some things more beyond that. The first and foremost aspect is the numerous health benefits that sweating brings in.

One of the major health benefits is the physical exertion benefit that one gets from exercising. Another one is the detox of heavy metals, followed by the removal of dangerous chemicals and even bacterial cleansing.

Becoming Hydrated During Sweating

Of course, it is necessary to remain in a hydrated state and even stop exercising when you sweat a lot. That needs to be strictly followed during the hot summer months as you lose a huge amount of body fluids by sweating. However, that won’t mean that you need to avoid sweating at all costs. Well, it is not the case.

Individuals sweat for many reasons like nervousness, hot weather, fever, exercising, and even being in the sauna. Sweating leads to dehydration, stress and even reminds us that our body is fighting an illness. Sometimes, it would invigorate us on the hike and even when one is exercising in the gym.

Why Does One Sweat?

Well, perspiration or sweating is the main method of how our body can regulate its temperature. The water that is released from glands present in our skin would evaporate and the body gets cooled. When you are exercising, the muscles get heated and so more amount of sweat would be needed. Cooling is a major function that sweating does.

Hence, without it, the human body won’t be able to release any excess heat and can even die. Frankly, this is deeply true irrespective of whether we are sick and stuck in bed or just relaxing in the sauna.

What Do You Mean by Sweat?

Well, sweat is just water. It contains small amounts of sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Here the electrolytes present can trigger many electrical responses in the human body like flexing muscles. That is the main reason why drinking electrolytes while doing and after a high impact and long period of exercise is great.

Not only have these small amounts of the pheromones had very less significance for humans compared to other animals, but they also show some interesting functions in terms of limited research-based studies. As per certain research done by experts, the bacteria that grows in the released sweat makes it stink. Certain dress fabric, antiperspirants, and frequent baths can help to get rid of the smell.

At times sweating can release certain toxins. Here the major belief is that sweat would help to get rid of a huge amount of toxins from the human body. That is quite exaggerated as sweat is mostly made up of water. Of course, there is a minor removal of BPA plastics and heavy metals, but the liver and kidney are the major ones that do the detoxification procedure.

Basically, the overall nutrition of a person is the one that has a greater impact on the human body’s detoxification compared to sweating as good nutrition is one that supports the healthy organ function of the body.

Why Do People Sweat?

Many experts clearly state that our human body contains many sweat glands, and they respond to the signal that is sent by our brain. These signals are the ones that inform to release the sweat. Frankly, there are two major perspirations triggering the release of sweat.

The first one is heat. Sweat is the cooling system of the body. The major purpose of sweat is to assist the human body to maintain a normal body temperature. Also, it helps to cool down the body temperature when it goes up.

Many experts believe that as soon as the body releases sweat, it would evaporate and that cools down the skin. This is called thermoregulatory sweating. It is commonly happening in hairy body parts like the armpits. The body temperature can go up for various reasons like the steamy temperature outside, engaging in exercising, working, and even at times eating spicy food items.

Another reason why one sweats is due to emotions. This is the common one that occurs in the non-hairy spots of the human body like palms. Experts feel that from the hunter-gathering era, humans go through such sweat and helps in the facilitating of the grip. That helped the ancestors of ours to run away from predators. However, nowadays we don’t need to run barefoot away from the lion; when it comes to any kind of presentation at a job or confrontation, then it can trigger this signal and lead to getting sweat.

The Smell That Sweat Produces

Now if you want to place the blame on the smell arousing from the sweat, put it on the bacteria that live on your skin and not on the sweat. Researchers clearly state that sweat itself is not that much smelly. A major part of the body odour and offensive smell arouses from the excretions of the bacteria that feed on the sweat. This is the most common issue with the sweat present in our feet, pits, and groins. They are enclosed due to the natural folds of the human body or the garments we wear. Additionally, sweat that accumulates on your forearm and forehead won’t have any smell.

Can Sweat Be Good for You?

Of course! Keep in mind that without the ability to sweat, the body would be in huge trouble. Just think about it. If your body doesn’t have the mechanism to cool down or can’t sweat, then it can lead to the risk of your body overheating. As clearly stated previously, sweat is the mechanism that regulates body temperature.

Most importantly, it is the major reason why humans stay conscious and healthy in the high-temperature-based environment. Now overheating would be dangerous and that is why you come across most of the sweat-related products that are sweat-absorbing and not sweat-stopping.

When it comes to emotional sweating, there is much really to get rid of that. No good is served through the dripping beads of sweat when you work up the courage to ask someone out or go up to try public speaking.

When you check from a physiological perspective, sweating is a good thing. The human body can overheat when it won’t sweat and there are some activities that you should really avoid. The ones that lead to excessive sweating would be dangerous but exercising and controlled time in the sauna would be great.

When you are sweating while exercising, it means you have reached a level of exercise for promoting cardiovascular health. Certain studies done by experts show that sweatier individuals end up with more intense workouts and that means more fit individuals would sweat faster and more profusely. However, there are huge variations in terms of timing and the amount of sweat that individuals have, and those claims are very much unreliable.

Rather you would have to focus on trying to get to a level of exercise or sauna time that leads to a situation where the actual sweat shows up. It should not be something to measure time or amount. Well, just because it is summer and hot outside, never assume that you should not work out. That means on those days, exercising in an air-conditioned environment would be great and you can choose cooler times of the day to workout. Make sure to remain hydrated all the time. Also, try to avoid exercising whenever you experience some unusual symptoms like nausea and dizziness.

When it comes to saunas, there are research done by experts that Finnish people feel that sweating in the sauna is great for health. Also, heat-induced stress relief and the best positive effects on heart health would be very much beneficial. Same as exercising, activity-related or leading to sweating is what makes one healthy.

When Have You Sweat During Exercising?

Commonly sweating is often accompanied by physical exertion. Hence, in many cases, exercising brings in a huge number of health benefits. Some of them are boosting energy, maintaining a healthy weight, improving mood, defending against many kinds of diseases and health conditions, promoting good sleep, etc.

Is It Okay to Sweat Too Much?

No doubt, sweat is necessary for your body’s health. However, when it converts into rings on the underarm of every shirt or feels soggy as and when you walk into a job interview, then it means your body is overdoing it. Researchers feel that most of us sweat a lot than what is required and some even sweat way more than required.

Researchers state that around 5-6% of people sweat excessively. This is a condition called hyperhidrosis. During primary hyperhidrosis, your sweat glands become overactive even when there are no good causes for that. That means you are not sweating because of the workout or the rising mercury. Nerves and stress would heighten the symptoms. There would be certain inciting factors leading to hyperhidrosis like medical conditions, medications, menopause, etc.

The medical condition leading to excessive sweating includes hyperthyroidism, infections, anxiety, and types of cancer. Another one is the medication that contains daily stimulants such as coffee. This can lead to excessive perspiration. Certain medicines taken for pain and diabetes can lead to sweating along with hormonal medicines like birth control pills.

In the case of menopause, hot flashes can happen when there is a change in hormones and the triggering of perspiration. Sometimes you would be sweating more than usual or might be that your sweat is not triggered by your body’s need to cool down. Then in that case reach out to the doctor. Seriously, there are many treatments available that target hyperhidrosis and sweating which happen due to lack of any underlying causes.

Another aspect leading to increased sweating is the levelling up of the antiperspirant. You must go for over-the-counter clinical-strength-based deodorants and antiperspirant options. At times, many researchers suggest that you use these deodorant sticks at night when your sweat glands are not active or filled with sweat. Frankly, this way, the sweat ducts can absorb a whole lot of aluminium and that would be greatly effective.

Another great remedy to stop over sweating is to use Botox injection. Researchers state that even though Botox is approved by the FDA for treating underarm sweat, still it is used in the feet, hands, and scalp to avoid sweating in those areas. However, these treatments are temporary ones that last for around six months to one year.

At times making certain lifestyle adjustments would be a great way to control your sweating. Wearing breathable and light fabrics would allow lowering the sweating. Tight and synthetic fabric clothing would trap the heat.

At times when no other treatment brings the magic of avoiding the sweating, then go for surgery. For sweaty underarms and hands, surgery is a great option. Here doctors would remove the sweat glands present in the underarms. Surgery done on the arm to remove the sweat glands is called sympathectomy. This would be a more involved procedure, where each nerve that controls the sweat is cut or destroyed.

Going for Heavy Metals Detox

Now there are many options regarding detoxification by sweating. Still, studies show that in countries like China levels of most heavy metals were less among those people that exercised regularly. Heavy metals are commonly found in urine and sweat, and high concentration is mainly present in sweat. That clearly shows that along with urinating, sweating is the best means to reduce the heavy metals from our body.

Counteracting Fluid Loss When Sweating

Always make sure to drink a lot of water every day and that too not only when you think you need it. Try to avoid consuming alcoholic and caffeinated drinks that intensify the effect of your dehydration. Also, it would be great if you go for water rather than sugary drinks. Always be careful to avoid drinking a lot of fruit juices. Rather than that, try to add flavour to water using flower and fruit infusions that have very little sugar.


Sweating is great and good for your body. Unwanted and unnecessary sweating is dangerous and is something that you should avoid. If you do suffer from unwanted sweating, talk to your doctor immediately.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.