Have you ever noticed that men seem to drip sweat, throwing off veritable puddles of water from their skin as they exercise? While women aren't immune from profuse sweating, men do have a greater tendency to turn on and effectively use their body's natural cooling system according to new research by scientists at Osaka International and Kobe Universities in Japan.
More: Why Do You Sweat?
Research scientists recruited four groups of individuals to participate in their sweat study:
- Trained men who were used to regularly exercising.
- Untrained men who were not regular exercisers.
- Trained women who were used to regularly exercising.
- Untrained women who were not regular exercisers.
All of the study participants were set up in a climate controlled environment and were asked to cycle continuously for an hour while performing increasing intensity intervals.
The trained men and women were both better at utilizing their body's sweating mechanism than their untrained peers, but even trained women were at a disadvantage from trained men.
The group that had worst "sweat response" was the untrained women. They had to increase their intensity and their core temperature to a higher level than their peers before their body would begin sweat output.
If your general reaction so far has been, "Okay...gross," you need to recognize that there are actual exercise and fitness implications to this study.
Sweating cools your body down during exercise and enables it to continue performing work. The sooner your body begins sweating during exercise, the better you'll be at maintaining a healthy body temperature, and the longer you'll be able to exercise. If your body has to ramp up its temperature before you attain the necessary sweat response, you may be at greater risk for heat-related illness like heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. This is particularly true during exercise in hot or humid environments.
There are several things women should really take away from this study:
- Drink water regularly during exercise—if your body isn't cooling itself by sweating, you can help maintain your temperature by drinking water.
- On hot days, take your exercise routine inside so as to avoid accidentally overheating yourself.
- Understand that you can improve your sweat response by exercising regularly—as your body gets used to exercising, it will gradually become more efficient at turning on the sweat response, ultimately making exercise easier to perform.
More: Sweat Proof Your Workout
Get your sweat on in a fitness class.