Work up a sweat. You’ve no doubt heard that exercise advice before. And some people swear by that as a cardinal rule for effective exercise. Walk into any gym lined with treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical trainers, and you’ll find sweaty people hard at work.
And within a few minutes of a high intensity body weight training program in a class or in your own home, you’ll be sweating from the effort. Sweating is an important element of exercise that can help you burn body fat and calories to help you lose weight.
What is sweat made of?
Sweat is largely made of water and small amounts of ammonia, urea, salt, and sugar. Your body also loses electrolytes through sweating that are necessary in the right amount to help support hydration, muscle function, and brain activity.
Why Do You Sweat?
Start running, pedaling a bicycle, or trying to keep up with your Zumba instructor, and your body starts heating up. When your body temperature goes higher than normal (98.6 degrees), the hypothalamus in your brain responds by telling your brain to cool things down.
Your brain then communicates with the rest of your body and tells it to start sweating to help lower your body temperature. When you sweat, tiny droplets pass through the pores of your skin. Once the sweat reaches your skin and is exposed to air, it begins to cool and evaporate. This process cools your skin and helps lower your overall body temperature.
And it’s an effective way to lose weight. Raising your body temperature through exercise and sweating requires your body to use more energy to function. This process, called thermogenesis, helps you burn calories from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and used to store body fat for energy.
How to Promote Sweating in Your Body?
Exercise is the most common way to promote sweating in your body to help burn body fat. However, it’s not the only way. We’ll discuss the best exercise options to promote sweating separately.
Here are some alternatives to exercise to help you sweat more:
- Spend Time in a Sauna
Some people have encouraged sweating and small amounts of weight loss by spending time in a sauna. In this heated environment you sweat, and this forces your body to work harder to control body temperature.
The maximum temperature for a sauna is 194 degrees Fahrenheit based on U.S. standards, and you should only spend about 15 to 20 minutes at a time in a sauna.
Saunas are generally safe for most people, but health experts recommend that you avoid saunas if you are pregnant, taking medications, or have other health-related issues.
- Wear a Sweat Suit
Some people choose to exercise in a rubberized suit or clothing that limits sweat evaporation. Without your sweat being directly exposed to air, this practice elevates body temperature, and helps you burn more calories than you normally would in lightweight clothing.
However, overuse of this practice can lead to dangerous spikes in body temperature that could cause brain damage or be fatal.
- Eat Spicy Foods
One other way to raise your body temperature is to season your food with hot peppers and spices. Jalapeno peppers, habaneros, cayenne pepper, and other spices add a lot of flavor and heat to your food. If you’ve ever eaten a hot and spicy dish, you’ll know you start to perspire after taking your first couple of bites.
Eating spicy food tricks your brain into thinking it needs to sweat to regulate body temperature. Just be careful about eating hot peppers. Too much can actually burn your skin or your lips, and cause digestive problems.
- Sweating and Exercise
The best way to promote sweating and fat loss is exercise. And you can achieve a fat-burning sweat doing just about any kind of physical activity. Walking, biking, rowing, aerobics, mixed-martial arts, and even gardening and cleaning up the house with gusto can help you break a sweat.
The most effective fat loss exercises will begin with a brief warm-up, followed by more vigorous activity, and followed by a cool-down period. Aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day to maintain your weight, and 60 minutes or more per day to promote weight loss.
When you sweat, it’s an indicator that your body temperature is higher than normal. Your brain is directing your body to start perspiring to help cool things down. And it’s a good thing. When your body temperature is elevated, you burn more calories and fat to help you lose weight.