The Health Benefits of Sweat
Whether you’re breaking a sweat at the gym or just walking down the road on a scorching day, you may be giving your health a huge boost. Here, experts describe the mental, physical, and emotional benefits of a little perspiration.
Sweat Side Effect #1: Eases Pain
Working up a sweat just might soothe body soreness. “Exercise stimulates neurochemical pathways in the brain, resulting in the production of endorphins that act as natural painkillers” says Dr. James Ting, a sports medicine physician at Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, California.
Sweat Side Effect #2: Rids the Body of Toxins
Hit the exercise mat for a super sweat session. Some experts believe that sweating can flush the body of system-clogging substances like alcohol, cholesterol, and salt. Get the most bang for your bod with indoor cycling or circuit training – two of the sweatiest workouts, according to Melissa Morin, an exercise physiologist and Senior Director of Group Exercise at New York Sports Club.
Sweat Side Effect #3: Controls Mood Swings
It seems natural that we associate feeling warm with a sense of well-being and relaxation, but there may in fact be a scientific explanation for this feeling, says Dr. James Ting. “Research has suggested that temperature-sensitive neural circuits to specific regions in the brain exist and may play a significant role in controlling mood.”
Sweat Side Effect #4: Lowers Kidney Stone Risk
Yes, really! Research from the University of Washington found that regular exercisers sweat out salt more readily and tend to better retain calcium in their bones, rather than having them – salt and calcium – go into their kidneys and urine where stones form. Frequent sweaters also tend to drink more water, which further helps reduce the risk of developing stones.
Since exercise raises your body temperature, sweating associated with exercise is a sign that you’re exerting yourself and gaining the many benefits that exercise has to offer. Keep in mind that sweating, especially heavy sweating, will cause your body to lose valuable fluids and electrolytes. Be sure to stay well hydrated if you’ve been sweating heavily and replace your electrolytes naturally by drinking water.