Does Sweating from Exercise Burn Calories?

Does Sweating from Exercise Burn Calories?

If you’re looking to lose weight or if you sweat a lot - or both - you probably are pretty invested in the answers to these questions. So in this article, we’ll share everything that you need to know about sweating, weight loss, and exercise. Let’s dive in.

There’s no denying that there is a relationship between sweat, exercise, and weight loss. But what is that relationship exactly? We’re all pretty aware that exercising makes you sweat. But does sweating make you lose weight? Does losing weight make you sweat? What exactly is going on there?

If you’re looking to lose weight or if you sweat a lot - or both - you probably are pretty invested in the answers to these questions. So in this article, we’ll share everything that you need to know about sweating, weight loss, and exercise. Let’s dive in.

How Does Sweating Work?

How Does Sweating Work? 

Let’s start with the very basics: what exactly is going on when you sweat? 

Sweating is a totally normal and even essential function of the human body intended to cool you down. Whether you get hot from exercising or just because it’s hot where you are, sweating can be used to help your body come back to a normal temperature. 

Here’s how it works: 

Your body senses that your temperature is higher than the 98 degrees it wants to be at. As a result, your hypothalamus, a region of your brain, signals your eccrine sweat glands to produce sweat and cool you down. 

Those eccrine glands respond by releasing water from your body. That water sits on your skin and undergoes a process of evaporation. Evaporation is a physical process that requires heat to do, therefore cooling your body down. 

If you weren’t able to sweat, your body temperature would stay up, which can actually be a big problem. Actually, 2% of people suffer from a condition called anhidrosis that prevents them from being able to sweat normally. While it may seem appealing to never get sweaty, this can actually lead to serious issues like heat stroke.

On the other hand, there are also people who sweat too much - even if they’re not exercising or in hot temperatures. This is called hyperhidrosis, and 5% of the population has it. Depending on the type of hyperhidrosis - primary or secondary - there may or may not be a clear cause to why the individual is sweating excessively. Either way, this is an example of a situation when perspiration isn’t actually a necessary bodily function. 

Are you one of the 5% of people who sweat excessively? Try out one of Social Citizen’s sweat-proof tees to stay dry and comfortable all day. 

Why Do We Sweat?

As we explained above, sweating is used to cool your body down. But why is this so important? 

Well, our bodies function best at a very specific temperature of approximately 98 degrees. When we go too far above this, the body doesn’t work so well. That’s why it’s such a big deal when you have a high fever. Having too high of a body temperature for too long can lead to issues like:

  • Heat cramps
  • Heat rash
  • Balance problems
  • Delirium
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting
  • High or low blood pressure
  • High heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Weakness 
  • Breathing problems
  • Seizures
  • Severe pain
  • Swelling 

As you can see, this is a very serious list of issues that you don’t want to experience. That’s why it’s so important for your body to be able to properly cool itself off.

How Much Water Is Lost During A Workout? 

Sweating is essentially a process of your body releasing water from your glands. This means that sweating causes you to lose some of the water stored in your body. How much exactly? 

Well, this depends on a number of factors such as your body size, the type of exercise you’re doing, and the temperature outside. Generally speaking, however, you can lose as much as 3 to 4 liters of water per hour when exercising, or as much as 10 liters per day. If it’s hot outside, this can even increase by 10 to 20 percent. 

If this sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. That’s why it’s so important to always drink water while you exercise, especially when it’s hot outside. Your body needs to be hydrated in order to function properly, so it’s crucial to replace lost fluids by drinking more water. So next time you go to the gym for a workout, don’t forget to bring your water bottle. 

Man wiping sweat off his forehead

How Many Calories Can You Burn Through Sweating? 

Now let’s address a major misconception about sweating, exercise, and weight loss. Many people think that sweating is a good way to burn calories and lose weight. After all, you might notice a drop in your scale weight after a hot yoga class or a long sauna session. This must mean that you’re burning calories, right?

Well, not exactly. Sweating can, indeed, make you lose weight. But this is because your body is releasing water. Remember, one hour of exercise can cause you to lose up to 3 or 4 liters of water. That’s around 7 to 8 pounds. But don’t mistake that for real weight loss. The minute that you rehydrate, your weight will bounce back up as your body refills with water. 

Because the truth is that sweating does not burn calories, or at least not any significant amount of them. Any weight you lose from sweating is just water weight.

That being said, what does burn calories - and cause you to sweat - is exercise. And that is ultimately the really important thing when you want to lose weight. The exact number of calories you burn by exercising depends on a lot of things like the intensity of your workout and the size of your body. 

While it may be tempting to assume that the more you sweat, the more calories you’re burning, don’t be misled. Sweating is one way to measure the intensity of your exercise session, but it isn’t the end-all-be-all. After all, temperature is a huge factor in how much you sweat. Doing the same exact workout in a hot room will cause you to sweat more than doing that workout in a cold room. But, ultimately, you’ll be burning almost exactly the same number of calories. 

Tips For The Best Sweat Session 

So if you want to burn calories and lose weight, the best way to do that is to exercise. How can you burn the most possible calories by working out? 

First, you can focus on the workouts that are known to burn the most calories. These include running, bicycling, calisthenics, circuit training, jump rope, and swimming. 

Beyond that, you’ll burn more calories by having a workout that is longer in duration, higher in intensity, and faster. 

Now, what if all you want is just to sweat as much as possible? Maybe you want to drop water weight temporarily even knowing that it’s not equated to any actually meaningful weight loss. What can you do to sweat as much as possible?

Well, the two biggest triggers of sweating are exercise and temperature. So, first, you can start by working out. Again, the more intense your workout, the more you’ll (usually) sweat.

On top of that, you can also put yourself in high-heat situations. This might look like sitting in a sauna or wearing a sweatsuit.

And if you want the maximum possible sweat output, you can combine the two options above and exercise while in a high-heat situation. This might mean working out in a sweatsuit or exercising in a hot room, like with hot yoga. 

Again, remember that you should always drink water when working out and when sweating to help your body stay hydrated. Never push yourself past the point of discomfort. Listen to your body and its messages. If you start to feel weak, faint, or dizzy, stop whatever you’re doing and drink some water. 

How Social Citizen Sweat Proof T-Shirts Can Help You

While you might want to sweat as a way to lose weight, that doesn’t make it any more comfortable to get all sweaty, sticky, and gross. After all, sweat is a big contributing factor to body odor, meaning it can both make you physically uncomfortable and self-conscious. That’s why sweat-proof clothing is so great. Because you can’t necessarily stop yourself from sweating, but you can manage your sweat with the right clothing.

Social Citizen’s Social Tee is designed for people to be able to sweat in comfortably. Made with a hidden, absorbent underarm pad, the Social Tee stops 100% of sweat stains - guaranteed. The bamboo layer can also kill bacteria and fight odor, helping you stay clean and smelling fresh.

Best of all, the Social Tee is comfortable and fashionable to wear anywhere, anytime. Made in men’s and women’s cuts in three stylish colors, you can put on your Social Tee with any outfit and feel confident in how you look. Check it out today to turn sweating from an inconvenience into a non-issue. 

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