There are two types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine. The body has thousands of eccrine glands, which effectively regulate the body’s temperature. As the body’s temperature rises, the nervous system goes to work to stimulate the eccrine glands to release sweat. Sweat is made up of water, sodium and other substances that help cool the body down.
Apocrine glands are found mainly in the underarm and groin areas. Although the body’s temperature can stimulate these glands, they are also triggered by stress, anxiety or fluctuating hormones. The apocrine glands produce bacteria that help break down the sweat which causes body odor, which is why we just put deodorant under the arms rather than all over the body.
People have an average of two to four million sweat glands. But how much sweat is released by each gland is determined by many factors, including gender, genetics, environmental conditions, age or your fitness level. Two of the major contributors to sweat rate are an individual’s fitness level and weight. If an individual weighs more, sweat rate is likely to increase because the body must exert more energy to function and there is more body mass to cool down.
On the other hand, a fit person will start sweating earlier and easier. It may sound strange at first but as someone becomes fit, the body becomes more efficient at regulating the body’s temperature. When you start sweating earlier the body cools down faster, which releases extra body heat and allows you to work out harder for longer. Another theory suggests that during exercise, the body needs to pump more blood to the working muscles, which also stimulates the eccrine and apocrine glands.
When working out it’s important to remember not to use sweat as a weight loss tool. Increasing the level of sweating will not lead to a smaller waist size; but it can cause dehydration. Environmental heat and humidity can even have a negative effect on your ability to sweat.
Here are several tips that you can use to help make sweating bearable and keep your workout efficient: