Exercising is one of the best, if not the best ways to lose weight (along with making healthy food choices). But does sweating itself do anything? Is it involved in the weight loss process? Want to know? If so, be sure to read on—because that’s what we’ll be exploring in this post!
Calories are the fuel for your body. Generally speaking, they’ll stay in your body as fat, unless you use them up. How is it related to your weight? It’s pretty much a balancing act—that is, you’ll gain weight if you eat more calories than you burn. The opposite is also true; you’ll lose weight if you burn more through exercise.
So then the question becomes, does sweating make you burn more calories?
How Many Calories Do You Burn When You’re Sweating?
Ever heard of hot yoga? Some sources claim that you can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour but that’s mostly false. In fact, studies have shown that it only burns 300-500 calories per 90 minutes. If you wanted to, you could even burn the same amount of calories by walking around your neighborhood.
Not all calorie-burning exercises involve sweating either. For instance, you still burn calories if you’re swimming or running outside in cold weather. What does this mean? There’s no magical number for how many calories you burn while sweating. At the end of the day, all that matters is what you’re doing and how you’re doing it (i.e. intensity level).
Having said that, sweat can be used to measure the intensity of your exercise. In other words, you can use it as a guideline to see how hard you’re working. Generally speaking, you want to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week—so you should be sweating at least a bit.
What Determines How Much You’ll Sweat?
Not everyone sweats the same amount. For example, one person might sweat a lot from a short run whereas another person might not sweat at all. At the end of the day, there are a number of factors that are at play.
More specifically, it has to do with your genetics, fitness level, age, weight, and environmental factors. Out of all these, fitness level and weight will probably have the largest influence on how much you’ll be sweating. That is, your body will need to use more energy if you’re on the heavier side—that will result in more sweat.
Your fitness level is important as well; the fitter you are, the quicker you’ll sweat. Why? Your body will be more efficient at regulating temperature compared to someone who doesn’t exercise often. This allows your body to cool down faster—this, in return, lets you work out for longer.
Does Sweating Help With Weight Loss? – Common Myths About Sweating
If you Sweat, It Means That Your Workout Is More Effective
This isn’t true. While sweating can give you an idea of how hard you’re working, it isn’t the best measure of workout effectiveness. After all, it’s just your body’s cooling mechanism, and everyone’s works a little differently. Like we said earlier, an individual who’s fit will sweat earlier as their heat-regulating system is more efficient.
People Who Sweat A Lot Are Out of Shape
This isn’t always true. While it is related to your fitness level, there are other factors that determine your sweat rate. That is, it’s highly individualized. As such, it’s not an accurate way to determine how in shape you are. Here’s some trivia for you—Alberto Salazar has the highest sweat rate reported in literature despite being an Olympic athlete.
Sweating and Water Weight
Sweat is basically 99% water. The remaining 1% consists of electrolytes, amino acids, bicarbonate, potassium, urea, and calcium. In other words, when you’re sweating, your body is losing water. Given that, it’s not surprising to know that sweating can cause you to lose water weight. Keep in mind, however, that it’s only temporary.
What Is Water Weight?
Water weight is the amount of excess water that’s stored in and around our cells. This makes sense when you think about it since the human body is made up of approximately 60% water. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to survive.
And as it turns out, there are several things that can change your water weight—sweating being one of them. Other causes include salts and carbs, menstruation, pregnancy, stress hormones, and certain medications. It’s important to remember, however, that it does fluctuate constantly during the day—that’s normal. As long as you eat a healthy diet, your water weight will be where it needs to be. So don’t be too alarmed if your weight is different in the afternoon!
Note: It’s important to note that water weight is not the same thing as excess water retention aka deem. That’s a whole different thing that’s often a side effect of certain medical conditions.
How Much Water Weight Can We Lose From Sweating?
It depends on how much you sweat but the average person loses 1 to 1.5 pounds of water per day from sweating. Obviously, this number would be higher if you exercise more or live in a hotter climate as you would be losing more water through your skin.
Risks Associated With Sweating
Sweating allows your body to cool down. However, it does come with a few risks. First and foremost, it can lead to dehydration—this is especially true if the weather is hot or humid. That’s why it’s so important to stay hydrated when you’re exercising. As a general rule of though, you want to drink a pint of water for every pound of sweat you lose. Don’t forget the electrolytes as well.
Signs of Severe Dehydration:
- Extreme confusion or exhaustion
- Rapid or weak pulse
- Loss of consciousness
- Persistent dizziness that doesn’t go away
- Lack of urination
Seek medical attention right away if you experience any of the above symptoms.
Importance of Washing Sweaty Workout Clothes
You don’t want to wear sweaty clothes for long periods either—the sweat can easily cause skin irritation. In some cases, it can even lead to a rash. That’s why it’s so important to change out of dirty clothes as soon as possible after working out. You don’t want your skin to be in contact with the sweaty fabric for longer than it has to.
Once you’ve taken it off, throw it in the washer; the sooner the better. If you don’t have time to wash it right away, hang it on something so that it can air out. The goal is to get rid of as much sweat/moisture as possible so that it won’t attract bacteria.
In terms of how to wash the items, we highly recommend ACTIVE detergent. It’s made specifically for tech fabrics such as those used in athletic wear. Featuring a concentrated enzyme blend, it will dive deep into the fibers and physically remove sweat and other impurities. It does not contain any chemicals such as SLS or sulfates and you can use it both for hand washing and machine washing.
The Bottom Line
Sweating more does not cause you to burn more fat; it simply doesn’t work that way. There are many factors that determine your sweat rate, including your fitness level and genetics. At the end of the day, you can use it as a rough guideline of how hard you’re working but that’s about it.
Having said that, sweating can cause you to drop a few pounds of water weight. However, the changes aren’t significant and it’s only temporary; it’ll come back eventually as you consume more water. In other words, you don’t want to rely on sweating to lose weight. As it is, the only healthy way to lose weight is to exercise and have a healthy diet. Don’t think too much about the sweat aspect of it—it really doesn’t have much to do with anything at all.