This content was updated for accuracy and relevance on November 8th, 2021
Sweating is a sign of a successful workout. While not glamorous, that glistening sheen on your skin is a testament to the hard work you just put into taking care of your body.
After working up a sweat, you may be eager to jump in the shower and freshen up right away. Before you do, we encourage you to take a moment to appreciate the many benefits that sweating has to offer. What are the health benefits of sweating you ask? Well, fill up your favorite water bottle and strap on your sports tote bag and let’s get ready to sweat together.
#1 Sweat Is Your Body’s Built-In A/C System
Have you ever wondered why you sweat at all? The primary reason is to regulate your body temperature.
When you exercise, your heart rate, your blood pressure, and your blood flow increases, causing your temperature to rise. In an attempt to maintain your normal temperature, your skin starts releasing sweat. You may assume that sweat cools you down by showering your body in moisture, but it’s actually the evaporation of this sweat that cools your skin. This process, known as thermoregulation,1 is essential to your health. Without it, you’d be at a much greater risk of overheating, which can result in fainting or heat stroke.
Before getting into an intense workout, ease your body into it with stretching warm ups. Then get ready to sweat! Sweating keeps you cool and healthy as you push yourself during a spin class, a jog around the park, or a challenging HIIT workout.
#2 Sweat Promotes Clear, Healthy Skin
Even though many of us thought we'd be acne-free in adulthood, hormonal changes can cause blemishes at any age.
The unexpected skin savior? Sweat!
When you sweat, your pores open up. As you perspire, your skin purges any bacteria, dirt, or makeup that’s been clogging up its pores. In addition to flushing out your pores, sweat supports beautiful skin by increasing your blood flow. Proper circulation ensures that your skin cells get nourished with the oxygen and nutrients they need.
The result? Your skin will look healthier and clearer.
Just make sure to wash your skin shortly after any good sweat session to prevent these pimple-causing culprits from re-entering your pores. As long as you refresh right away, you can expect regular exercise to improve your skin’s clarity, tone, and texture.
#3 Sweating Can Prevent Infections
Your skin is a vital part of your immune system. It serves as your body’s first line of defense against bacteria, viruses, and harmful pollutants. Sweat, in particular, plays an important role in preventing infections. That’s because it has powerful antibacterial properties.
Sweat supports your skin’s immune defense by releasing a germ-killing peptide, known as dermcidin.2 This peptide is toxic to a broad range of bacteria.
If your skin comes into contact with bacteria at the gym or out and about on a hot day, dermcidin can fight them off before they infect your body. By killing bacterial invaders on contact, dermcidin has been shown to protect against infections of E. coli and certain strains of staph.3
#4 Sweat Helps Detoxify Your Body
The role that sweat plays in detoxification has been debated for years. The scientific consensus is that eating healthy food and drinking enough water contributes much more to detoxification than sweating ever could.
However, some research shows that sweat plays a role in releasing certain toxins from your body, including:
- Heavy metals – At high concentrations, heavy metals can damage your organs and reduce your energy levels.4 Sweat has been shown to expel heavy metals, such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic.5 A 2016 study showed that people who exercised regularly had lower levels of heavy metals in their bodies.6
Bisphenol A (BPA) – BPA is an industrial chemical that’s commonly found in resin, plastic packaging, coatings of cans, jar caps, and kitchenware.7 Exposure to BPA may play a role in endocrine disorders, such as infertility, breast and prostate cancer, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).8 High levels of BPA have also been correlated with obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.9
If you want to reduce your risk of these adverse effects, you’ll be happy to learn that sweating supports BPA elimination.
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) – PCBs are another type of chemical that’s been linked to a range of harmful health effects, including immune suppression, asthma, hormonal impacts, heart disease, and cognitive problems.10 As with BPA, sweating may help eliminate certain PCBs from your body.11
Additionally, consistent physical exercise has been shown to support liver health.12 With a well-functioning liver, your body will have a much easier time eliminating toxins.
#5 Sweating Helps Prevent Painful Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are notoriously painful. If you haven’t experienced a kidney stone yet, sweating and releasing toxic elements through sweat can help you ensure you never do.
Two risk factors for kidney stone development are eating a high sodium diet and dehydration.13 Sweating helps lower both of these risks by flushing excess sodium from your body and encouraging you to drink more water.
Thanks to these benefits, people who work out regularly and drink enough water experience far fewer incidences of kidney stones.
#6 Sweating Can Boost Your Mood
Sweating often occurs in response to a strenuous workout. One of the rewards of this intense physical activity is the resulting rush of endorphins.
These feel-good hormones have been shown to reduce symptoms of:14
If you need a mood boost, a quick sweat session can increase your sense of happiness and wellbeing for the rest of the day.
#7 Regular Sweat Sessions Can Support Weight Loss
If you’re trying to lose some weight, working up a sweat can signify that you’re on track to reaching your goals. However, sweating in itself doesn’t burn fat (so sadly, sauna sessions aren't a suitable replacement for cardio - even if it’s an infrared sauna).
Instead, a sweaty workout, body odor and all, simply reveals that you've heated up your body by exerting a lot of energy. Your body then has to work even harder to cool itself down. As a result, sweating shows that you're burning calories and contributing to a larger calorie deficit.
There are many enjoyable ways to work up a sweat such as your favorite HIIT workout or heading out for a hike. Whatever your choice, it’s important to stay hydrated. Don’t forget to pack your favorite water bottle and maybe a few other essentials. Learn what to bring on a hike or any other workout for optimal health.
As long as you stay consistent with your exercise regime and follow a healthy diet, regular sweat sessions can promote healthy weight management.
#8 Sweating Can Improve Muscle Recovery
If building muscle is your goal, sweating can help with this process too. Recovery is an essential part of building muscle. While sweating doesn’t necessarily help you build muscle, it aids in the muscle recovery process.
How so? As we’ve mentioned before, a sweat-inducing workout increases your circulation. Great circulation supports recovery by giving your muscles the nutrients they need to heal efficiently.15
#9 Sweat Can Enhance Your Sense of Accomplishment and Self Esteem
After a hard workout, sweating gives you an immediate sense of accomplishment. Even if your most recent pilates session or bike ride didn’t transform your body, those drops of sweat serve as evidence that you’ll see noticeable improvements soon, as long as you stick to your routine. This positive reinforcement can keep you on track, even when visible results take more time to manifest.
A study from Psychology of Sport and Exercise also found that just 20 minutes of sweaty exercise is enough to make you feel stronger and slimmer immediately.16 As you start to see yourself in a new light, you’ll be inspired to take even more actions that align with your fitness goals.
Sweat in Style with BÉIS
Since sweating has so many benefits, be proud of your glistening skin!
Drop that saying, “never let them see you sweat.” Instead, just make sure you sweat in style.
Whether you’re heading to the gym or are looking to reap all of the benefits of yoga class, you need a stylish bag to carry all of your fitness essentials. At BÉIS, you’ll be able to find the perfect accessory for your next sweat session.
- PDB-101. Dermcidin.https://pdb101.rcsb.org/motm/162
- Elsevier. Antimicrobial Peptides, Skin Infections, and Atopic Dermatitis.https://cdn.mdedge.com/files/s3fs-public/issues/articles/vol27_i2_Antimicrobial_Peptides.pdf
- NCBI. Toxicity, mechanism and health effects of some heavy metals.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4427717/
- Hindawi. Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Sweat: A Systematic Review.https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeph/2012/184745/
- PubMed. Monitoring of heavy metal levels in the major rivers and in residents' blood in Zhenjiang City, China, and assessment of heavy metal elimination via urine and sweat in humans.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26903134/
- PubMed. Human excretion of bisphenol A: blood, urine, and sweat (BUS) study.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22253637/
- PubMed. Health risk of exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25813067/
- PubMed. Bisphenol A: an endocrine and metabolic disruptor. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23796010/
- CHEJ. Health Effects of PCBs.http://chej.org/wp-content/uploads/Health-Effects-of-PCBs-Fact-Sheet.pdf
- Hindawi. Biomonitoring and Elimination of Perfluorinated Compounds and Polychlorinated Biphenyls through Perspiration: Blood, Urine, and Sweat Study. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2013/483832/
- Livestrong. The Effect of Exercise on Liver Function. https://www.livestrong.com/article/287774-the-effect-of-exercise-on-liver-function/
- Weill Cornell Medicine Urology. General Risk Factors for Kidney Stones.https://urology.weillcornell.org/clinical-conditions/kidney-health-–-non-cancerous/kidney-stones/risks-causes
- Medical News Today. What are endorphins?https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320839#what-are-endorphins
- Fitness and Wellness News. Go with the Flow: Improve Circulation. https://fitnessandwellnessnews.com/go-with-the-flow-improve-circulation/
- Science Direct. Acute effects of exercise on women with pre-existing body image concerns: A test of potential mediators.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1469029217302170
- WebMD. Causes of Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating). https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hyperhidrosis-causes-11