Monday, February 2, 2015

Sweat or Glisten?

Are there health benefits to sweating?  An article in the New York Times said no, not beyond the function of keeping the body from overheating.

Of course, why believe the NYT when there is so much information on the internet.  Like this list from HERE.

Why sweat? 
1) Sweating cools your body. It’s a built in ventilation system.
2) It improves your skin’s elasticity and tone. You’ll look younger!
3) It improves blood flow. Your circulation gets a boost.
4) It has a great detoxifying effect. Sweat helps to push out “junk” from your lymph system, liver, blood, etc.
5) It improves digestion and helps eliminate constipation. What goes in should come out within 24 hours.
6) Sweating rids the body of pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals we breath in. Yes, it’s detoxing (point 4), but worth mentioning on its own.
7) Sweating boosts your endorphins. You’ll be happier.
8) It’s a natural antibiotic! That’s right, sweat can actually kill bacteria that can cause infection through antimicrobial peptides.
9) Sweat naturally elevates your “bad ass” level. When you finish a yoga class or run all sweaty and hot, you look like you’ve earned your stripes.
10) It helps you relax. Keep calm and carry on.
I am not a scientist, of course, but it does seem to me that most of these listed benefits would be attributed to the exercise, not the sweat, just as the NYT article suggests.  There is something appealing about thinking that toxins are being flushed out with sweat.   I don't know if it is true, but I would like it to be.
I was interested because I have been taking hot yoga.  There is something addicting about it--those endorphins--but, good grief, it does involve some heavy duty sweating.  I am getting marginally more flexible, but if I thought bad stuff was washing out as I exercised, I'd be even more motivated.
Actually, what I was really researching was whether it was possible for my brain to be melting and leaking out all my pores.  I really cannot pass myself off as "glistening" after a hot yoga class.  I think this is something that deserves more research.


  1. I think I agree with the NYT that the benefit is in the exercise that makes you sweat. I don't like to feel sweaty but I do sweat heavily when I exercise. I can't stand to be hot, so hot yoga is not for me. I like to exercise in a cool place or walk in cool weather. My walk this afternoon in a windy 48 degrees was just right.

  2. Hmm. I tried to post and it wouldn't let me, so forgive me if I am doing this a second time. All I wanted to say was that I sort of always thought sweat did help rid the body of toxins. Thanks for illuminating me.

  3. When swimming it's hard to tell when you sweat. lol

  4. I could never pass myself off as glistening - I'm well beyond that stage! But, I do sweat. I'm going to pretend these ten things are true.

  5. "I think this is something that deserves more research."
    I shall rely on you to keep on that. Please get back to me when you've reached a firm conclusion.

  6. Sweat can be dangerous in the sense that the body is getting overheated and that is why it goes into sweat mode. Your Yoga class is fine, but sweat in and of itself is like sneezing in that it is a natural reaction to another stimuli.

  7. Sorry, I am one of those who hate to sweat, perspire, and glisten.

  8. It would make sense that it flushes out some toxins, especially at the pore level, but I agree that many of the items on the list sound a bit far fetched and would be more attributable to exercise not sweating.

    Also it must be remembered that safe sweating depends on good hydration. Sweating without maintaining hydration raises the junk levels in the blood stream by reducing kidney flow.

  9. Interesting articles. I have no idea if sweating does all those things though I agree it's more likely the exercise creating the sweat that is the benefit.

    I went to a couple of Hatha yoga classes while away, but there was no sweating involved. Just lots of wobbles...on my part!

  10. I never have sweat much and it is frustrating. I don't get those cool sweat badges to prove I have worked hard even though I put in a lot of effort. Rats. I really am just a glistener and I must be ate up with toxins.

  11. I don't glisten much -- even in the heat or at the end of strenuous exercise. I like the idea of ridding the body of toxins, though, so maybe I should try harder to perspire.

  12. It does pay to do research. It's funny what we believe, though!

  13. Well I'm impressed that you go to hot yoga class, I tried it but the knees really weren't happy. Whether you sweat or glisten, movement is good for the soul. It keeps us young because that is what we did when we were young. So, keep up the good work.

  14. Well I'm impressed that you go to hot yoga class, I tried it but the knees really weren't happy. Whether you sweat or glisten, movement is good for the soul. It keeps us young because that is what we did when we were young. So, keep up the good work.

  15. Like Barbara I too am impressed that you do the hot yoga class. I admire you for doing so. I know this old body would shut down on me if I tried that.
    I must loose lots of toxins in the summer because as much as I hate to sweat I do find that our hot summers on a tractor does cause lots of sweat.
    Hope you are well. Don't over do the exercising!

  16. While I don't like to sweat I do feel good for it afterwards! I'm going with your list of 10 and I really do think it sweats out the toxins!

  17. I feel like my exercise is working when I finally break a sweat. However being a heart patient I sometimes wonder if it is healthy sweat or early warning signs.

  18. I HATE sweating, but I do when I'm in Zumba. I wish I could exercise without sweating.


I appreciate readers' comments so much. You don't even always have to agree with me.