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Why do some people sweat a lot and others are just glowing?

Have you ever thought to yourself mid-class: “Nobody could possibly sweat more than me right now”? Or, on the flip side, have you ever left your hot yoga class without a drop on your body wondering why everyone else is so much sweatier? We’ve ALL been there.

Everyone’s body works differently, so you’re not wrong if you fall in either camp – or somewhere in between.

Sweating is the body’s natural way of cooling down, so never be embarrassed by the state of your shirt after an intense yoga class. And, just because you’re sweating buckets doesn’t mean you’ve worked harder than your classmates.

Each one of us has between 2-4 million sweat glands on our bodies. Women have more sweat glands than men, but men’s bodies generally are more active.

Other contributing factors include:

  • The number of sweat glands you have
  • How hot the temperature is
  • How intensely you’re exercising
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Bodyweight
  • Amount of water consumed
  • Level of anxiety at the moment

While it might seem kind of backwards, the fact that you sweat a lot during a workout actually signals that you’re in good shape! Physically fit people start sweating at lower temperatures, which allows them to perform longer since their body isn’t overheating.

How to stay safe in a hot yoga studio

Whether your body marinates in sweat or simply glistens gently, there are a handful of tactics you can employ to keep yourself safe in our hot yoga studio.

Drink cold water every 15 minutes or so to keep your core temperature out of the danger zone.

Consume an electrolyte-spiked sports drink after class to replenish the sodium and potassium you’re sweating out.

If you feel dizzy, nauseated, or develop a headache, either rest in child’s pose or leave the studio to get some cool air.

To cool down quickly after practice, avoid taking a frigid shower or splashing icy water on your face. The chilly temperature will constrict your blood vessels, causing hot blood to rush to your core. Rather, take a cool shower and stand in front of a fan to evaporate lingering sweat.

When you should talk to your doctor

If you’re truly sweating uncontrollably, you may want to ask your doctor about a medical condition called hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis, a condition where your sweating exceeds the amount your body needs to cool off, affects approximately 2-3% of Americans and should be treated by your doctor.

On the other hand, if you can’t sweat, you may want to look into anhidrosis (or hypohidrosis). While not sweating might seem like a blessing to some of us, this condition puts people at higher risk of heatstroke and they must be wary of exercising in high temperatures.

Remember, everyone perspires in their own way, so never be ashamed of your sweat stains. Just grab a towel before class and get to work on your mat!