Sweating like a pig in this humidity? You're not alone! I thought it might be timely to discuss why we sweat, how we can monitor our hydration and the best way to re-hydrate. This weeks blog also features some advice from Naturopaths Leisa Blanche and Nicole Woodcock on their preferred products for staying hydrated. I hope you enjoy the read!
First and foremost, sweating is a sign of a healthy body. We have around 2-4 million sweat glands in our body and the average person sweats up to 4 cups per day! "Two types of sweat glands are involved in perspiring. Eccrine glands, which respond to heat, are located just about everywhere on your body; they release an essentially odorless sweat directly onto your skin to cool your body. Apocrine glands develop in your hair follicles — on your scalp and in your armpits, for example — and they respond to heightened emotions as well as to heat. They release a fatty sweat that's broken down by bacteria on the skin, in a process that produces a stink." (source; https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/the-science-of-sweat/)
Our sweat glands are activated by our sympathetic nervous system in response to heat or stress. The liquid released during sweating has one main purpose - to cool us down. The liquid is made up of water and salt and small amounts of minerals and electrolytes. There is no 'normal' amount to sweat. Some people may only sweat half a litre in a bout of intense physical activity whilst others can sweat up to 3-4 litres! Both are considered to be in the 'normal range.' Sweating is also affected by your gender and shape. For example, those who are unfit tend to sweat in a 'central' pattern across their chest and back, whilst those who are fitter tend to sweat more broadly across their body. Women also tend to sweat less for a couple of reasons:
They have more sweat glands than men however they don't produce as much sweat.
They generally have less muscle mass and so don't produce as much heat. Therefore there is less need to sweat.
So how can you monitor your hydration post workout?
A persons sweat rate is the amount of sweat lost during an activity. Now there is a complex formula involving weighing yourself nude pre and post workout, monitoring fluid intake, urine output and exercise time, however unless you're an elite athlete that needs to carefully monitor sweat loss, I wouldn't get too concerned about trying to calculate sweat rate. What you can easily monitor is the colour of your urine (nice topic hey?). The colour is a good reflection on your level of hydration and thus your need to drink more. See the chart below...….
What are the best ways to rehydrate post workout?
I went and had a chat to the team at Gisborne Health Essentials to get some information on the best products to use during these hot summer months. Leisa Blanche and Nicole Woodcock gave us the following advice on hydration:
How's that humidity?
During exercise you naturally lose fluids and vital electrolytes including magnesium, sodium, potassium, calcium and chloride through sweat and physical stress. In summer and particularly with the humidity we have been experiencing, this loss of electrolytes can cause dehydration, fatigue, reduce performance and impair recovery. Hydrating with a good quality electrolyte supplement prior, during and after exercise (depending on your needs and the activity itself) enhances endurance and energy throughout your session as well as support your post-workout recovery.
There are many marketed “electrolyte” supplements or “sports drinks” that are high in sodium chloride (salt) and sugar, but without the balance of the other vital electrolytes these products have little benefit. While the sugar may give you a quick energy spike you will crash harder and faster. Sodium alone will further dehydrate your muscle cells having the reverse effect on your body. You need to be aware that these products often contain food colouring, preservatives and additives which your body has absolutely no use for.
We recommend to our clients a product called Basica ActivE (pictured below) as electrolyte replacement supplements need to provide adequate levels of magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium – in the ratio’s similar to those found in the muscle cells. Magnesium is an essential component of an electrolyte supplement because it is required in every stage of energy production, it will increase your physical capacity, energy, recovery and reduce those unbearable muscle cramps.
Come in to Gisborne Health Essentials any time and chat to us if you have specific questions, there is always a Naturopath in store to assist.
And all the best with your training and recovery!
Nicole Woodcock, Leisa and the team at Gisborne Health Essentials.
43 Brantome St Gisborne
Well that sums up our blog on sweating. I hope you were able to take away some useful information that you can now put into practise. Until next time, kel :)