— AND HOW TO REDUCE BODY ODOR
Although sweating is not appealing, what you probably do not realize is that it has incredible benefits and it’s actually really good for you. The smelly odor can make you feel self-conscious and lower your confidence, but sweating regulates your body temperature, improves your mood, and aids your body’s detoxification process.
Most people don’t realize that there are a lot of surprising benefits to having active sweat glands. Normal sweating isn’t your enemy. Excessive sweating at inappropriate times is what you want to avoid.
Read on to learn what exactly sweat is, why we sweat and why we need to sweat, what causes body odor and how to get rid of it, and the surprising health benefits of sweating.
What Is Sweat and Why Do We Sweat?
It seems like a basic question, but the exact composition of sweat and why we sweat is a little more complicated than it seems. Sweat is a fluid made up of water, salt, and toxins, and it’s excreted from the body through pores in the skin.
Sweating regulates your body temperature and helps it cool down when it’s stressed from anxiety, high temperature (from a fever or being in a sauna), or physical stress from working out. It also removes heavy metals, toxins, and other unwanted compounds from the body as part of the detox pathway.
Why Does Sweating Cause Body Odor?
Sweating causes body odor due to the presence of apocrine sweat glands. These glands are mainly located in the underarms and groin region and are inactive before puberty. Before puberty, sweat that’s secreted is odorless. Sweat on its own is actually always odorless (it’s mostly water).
But during puberty, the apocrine glands become active and they start secreting sweat plus an oily substance in your groin region and underarms. Couple that with a wet, closed-off environment that’s a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, and bacteria digesting that oily substance on the skin—that leads to funky body odor.
So, having good personal hygiene is crucial to getting rid of body odor associated with sweat. But before we discuss the simple tips to get rid of body odor, we first have to understand why sweating is good for your health.
Quick Facts: 8 Benefits of Sweating You Probably Didn’t Know About
- Sweating regulates your body temperature and helps you cool down so you don’t overheat—literally.
- Sweating opens your pores, releasing unwanted toxins that accumulate in your body, which can lead to acne, body odor, and/or fatigue or sluggishness.
- It helps your body heal faster by fending off a fever through temperature regulation and can help heal wounds.
- It also helps prevent colds and other infections because it contains an antimicrobial peptide called Dermcidin that helps fight infections and germs.
- Sweating from a workout can produce endorphins which lower stress hormones and control your mood swings.
- Sweating helps keep your skin and hair healthy.
- It improves kidney function by boosting your body’s natural balance.
- Sweating more in the gym (when exercising) can also help decrease recovery time from illness, injury, and muscle strain by releasing chemicals that act as natural painkillers.
The Surprising Benefits Of Sweating
Here are the 8 pretty incredible reasons why sweating is good for you, explained in more detail:
1. Regulates Body Temperature
The main reason your body sweats is to regulate your temperature. This natural mechanism is really important to keep you from having a heat stroke due to physical exertion, stress, or tension. When your body heats up, your heart rate increases which causes you to sweat. Evaporation of the sweat off your body cools it down.
Normal body temperature also keeps all your internal organs functioning properly. The benefit of sweating is that simple: it’s a preventative measure. It keeps you from overheating, which in turn keeps your organs functioning and you from passing out. So basically, sweating is a good thing.
2. Detoxifies the Body
One of the primary functions of sweating is to regulate your temperature, but the other is to detoxify the body. Sweating helps to eliminate unwanted toxins from your body including pollutants, alcohol, the endocrine disruptor BPA commonly found in plastics, and heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury.
When you sweat, your pores open up and release the gunk, grime, and toxins that build up over time, which leads to a myriad of symptoms including, but not limited to, a weakened immunity, weight fluctuations, and worsening of inflammatory conditions.
3. Helps When You’re Sick + Heals Wounds
When you’re sick, sweating helps regulate your body temperature, which can fend off a fever and prevent it from being fatal. It can also help your body heal faster by eliminating the bacteria, viruses, and other germs that made you sick in the first place.
Your sweat glands and sweating also play an important role in helping wounds, burns, scrapes, and ulcers on your skin heal.
4. Protects The Body From Germs
Sweating protects the body from germs and helps prevent colds and other infections because sweat contains a potent antimicrobial called Dermcidin. This antimicrobial peptide forms a protective layer which protects the skin from infections. It also helps fight germs and flushes out toxins.
5. Enhances Your Mood + Lowers Stress Hormones
Sweating, in general, whether from a workout, doing any physical activity, or even in the sauna boosts the release of endorphins. These hormones help to enhance your mood and to make you feel happier. This, in turn, lowers cortisol and stress hormones, which relieves your anxiety and depression and controls your mood swings by helping you relax. And this strengthens your immunity.
6. Improves the Health of Your Skin and Hair
When it comes to skin and hair health, sweating plays a vital role. It opens up your pores and gets rid of built-up dirt, bacteria, and pollutants sitting right underneath your skin. This buildup can often cause zits and acne. When you work up a sweat regularly, your skin and hair will improve significantly over a period of time. So sweating is sort of a natural cleanser for your pores, which leads to fewer pimples and blemishes on your skin. It also helps prevent rashes and irritated skin.
TIP: I use this antibacterial body refresher to keep the bacterial levels on my skin balanced and in a healthy range.
In addition to improving skin health, sweating from your scalp helps unclog your hair follicles, which in turn allows new hair to grow. It also opens up the pores on your scalp and releases any buildup that could be preventing your hair from growing.
TIP: While sweating opens up your hair follicles to allow new hair to grow, it’s really important to wash sweaty hair as the salty sweat buildup on your scalp can damage your hair.
7. Improves Kidney Function
This is another surprising benefit of sweating more often. Sweating through consistent exercise reduces the incidence of kidney stones. Excess salt and calcium can result in the formation of kidney stones over time, but sweating boosts your body’s natural balance of nutrients in the blood, transporting the calcium to your bones instead. It also gets rid of excess salt and helps the kidneys filter toxins and excrete urea from your body.
TIP: If you sweat a lot, make sure you hydrate a lot too, otherwise you may actually end up developing kidney stones.
8. Decreases Recovery Time After Exercise
Sweating increases blood flow to the skeletal muscles. This helps to decrease recovery time after exercise or from muscle strain, injury, and illness. In addition, sweating during a workout or while doing physical activity produces endorphins, which not only make you feel better but they act as natural painkillers as well.
Tips To Reduce Body Odor
So sweating is good, but there are times when excessive sweating (also known as hyperhidrosis) can cause body odor and affect your daily activities. Here are a few simple tips to reduce body odor:
- Maintain basic hygiene and shower daily.
- Use antibacterial body wash to get rid of odor-causing bacteria.
- Change your undergarments daily. And wash them separately in lukewarm water.
- Keep your armpits and groin area clean and dry and trim the hair. Also, spritz with vinegar or rubbing alcohol, but don’t use vaginal wash regularly as it may disrupt the pH balance.
- If you workout regularly, keep an extra change of clothes in your gym bag to keep yourself fresh after the workout.
- Keep an antibacterial body spray and deodorant in your bag so that you can use them whenever you need to.
- Use all-natural, aluminum-free deodorant and alcohol-free perfume.
- Wear clean socks and clean your workout shoes every alternate week.
- Drinks lots of water, preferably with lemon.
How to Get the Benefits of Sweating You Want
It seems logical that the best way to get the benefits of sweating is to workout regularly. When you workout or do some form of physical activity, you sweat. It’s that simple.
Plus working out regularly has several other benefits including reduced stress and anxiety. If you normally sweat when you’re nervous, regular exercise will get rid of some of the anxiety which typically causes your body to sweat profusely. That’s right, working out regularly can reduce embarrassing nervous sweating and sweaty palms!
To really reap the benefits of sweating, you also have to stop blocking your body’s ability to sweat. Antiperspirants reduce the amount of sweat your body releases. They contain aluminum salts which dissolve into your skin’s surface, create a barrier, and block your sweat glands. They also contain harmful chemicals and additives that block pores and reduce the body’s ability to sweat. Instead, try a natural aluminum-free deodorant which covers up stinky sweat and odors but doesn’t block the sweat glands.
Finally, spend more time outdoors, especially when the weather is warm. Not only is the fresh air good for you, it helps you produce more sweat too. Spending some time in the sun encourages healthy sweating — plus the vitamin D from the sun that your body absorbs keeps you calm and enhances your mood.
There you have it — 8 surprising benefits of sweating plus tips to reduce body odor and how to reap the benefits of sweating. So, start sweating and improve your health, mood, and well-being!
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