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Why Do Some People Sweat More Than Others?

November 7, 2012 - Written by Courtney Kirton

Ever wonder why some people can exercise and have only a slight glistening of sweat, while others have rivers of water pouring off their bodies?  Your workout partner may look like he’s barely breaking a sweat, but you are embarrassed because you look like you just stepped out of the shower.  It’s nothing complicated, just a result of the differences in our bodies.

The human body has between 2 and 5 million – yes, MILLION – sweat glands.  With that many, it is amazing that we aren’t all constantly dripping water!  Heat and movement can trigger these glands to eliminate sweat, which helps to cool the body down and eliminate toxins.  Gender also plays a role; men typically perspire sooner and produce a greater volume of sweat than do women.

Overweight people sweat more than fit people because their bodies require more to cool down, but fit people actually start sweating sooner.  Those whose bodies are accustomed to exercise will start to sweat at lower temperatures than people who are out of shape, most likely because fit bodies run more efficiently.

If you sweat excessively when not working out, there could be a medical reason.  Some medications can cause your body to sweat, as can many medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, or thyroid problems.  There is also a condition called hyperhidrosis, which causes sweating not related to heat or movement.  The symptoms of the disorder can be sweaty palms or feet, or excessive underarm sweating.  People who have this condition often suffer from anxiety and social problems due to embarrassment.

While exercising, keeping hydrated is the best way to make sure that you are sweating enough to avoid overheating, especially if you are outside in hot weather.  Loose-fitting, breathable clothing can help prevent discomfort.  Normal perspiration is nothing to be ashamed of – it is part of what makes the amazing human body work the way it was meant to!

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