Gonna Make You Sweat
I was recently told that I am an abnormal sweater, and each trip to the gym has made me ever more aware of my sweating tendencies.
Sure, I perspire in the usual places that most women do — under the arms, behind the knees, right at my sports bra line. But then there are the weird ones. Sweat pours down the front of my legs, originating at my knees. It starts at my wrists, rolls down my forearms and drips off my elbows.
When I finish my treadmill workout, it looks like I dumped a bottle of water on the control panel. Then I’ll stop, look around and seem to be the sweatiest person in the gym.
Part of it could be because I’m actually working out, unlike a lot of people who go to the gym just to “be seen,” but surely that can’t be the only factor. My curiosity sent me to the Googles.
I found a New York Times article about a study that looked at the sweating tendencies of men and women, both fit and unfit. As you’d probably expect, the fit men sweated more than the fit women, albeit through the same number of active sweat glands, and fit people of both genders perspired more than their unfit counterparts.
Not surprising, right? Now, get this:
“We know that fitness changes the sweating response,” said Timothy Cable, Ph.D., a professor of exercise physiology at John Moores University in Liverpool, England, who has extensively studied female athletes and how they perspire. As someone becomes more fit, his or her body begins to sweat at a lower body temperature. This is important, because “the body has a critical core temperature,” Dr. Cable said, which occurs at about 104 degrees, after which the brain simply “shuts down the motor cortex.” … Sweating delays the onset of this critical heat buildup. … If you start to sweat at a lower temperature and increase your sweating rate as you get hotter during hard exercise, you’re less likely to reach the critical temperature.
A-ha! So, it turns out, I’m a sweaty beast because, well, I’m a beast, and my weird wrist sweat is helping me survive my tough workouts (and this heat wave). I’ll take it. — Mags