Home Health Local medical expert explains the importance and science of sweat and hydration – The Killeen Daily Herald

Local medical expert explains the importance and science of sweat and hydration – The Killeen Daily Herald

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Cloudy early with peeks of sunshine expected late. High 54F. Winds NNE at 15 to 25 mph..
Clear early followed by cloudy skies overnight. Low 39F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph.
Updated: March 7, 2022 @ 11:36 am
Antwan Curtis works up a sweat during a boxing class Jan. 8, 2015, at Title Boxing Club in Killeen.

Antwan Curtis works up a sweat during a boxing class Jan. 8, 2015, at Title Boxing Club in Killeen.
Living in Texas, sweating usually wants to be prevented at all costs. Air conditioning, fans and deodorants make a great effort to stop or conceal perspiration. However, while sweating might feel uncomfortable, it plays an essential health role.
“Sweat is meant to cool our body when we get too hot,” said Amberly Malone, clinical dietitian at AdventHealth-Central Texas in Killeen. “Some people sweat more than others, and certain conditions, such as anxiety, can trigger the glands to release sweat even if we’re not actually hot.”
Whether it’s from a vigorous workout, the Texas sun or a visit to the sauna — the human body starts sweating when its temperature is slightly over 98.6 degrees. Sweating, therefore, operates as the body’s own cooling mechanism that keeps the internal core temperature in a safe zone.
“As sweat evaporates off our skin, it cools the body down,” Malone said. “Sweat mostly consists of water, but it also contains small amounts of electrolytes like sodium, bacteria and toxins.”
In humans, sweat glands are located one to two levels below the skin surface, with ducts traveling up and creating pores.
Although sweating is often underappreciated, it’s vital to keep the human body healthy. The skin is the largest organ of the human body and is necessary for various health benefits.
Besides preventing the human body from overheating, sweating can boost the immune system by filtering toxins. Scientists also discovered that sweat is a natural moisturizer to the skin, providing protective immunity.
“Sweating regularly is healthy and necessary,” Malone said. “Sweating may help excrete some toxins, but our liver and kidneys do the bulk of that work … but there may be some additional benefits to sweating.”
According to recent research, some of these include the increased circulation throughout organs, muscles and tissue, the prevention of kidney stones and healthier skin.
The key is to sweat all over, resulting from intense workouts or a sauna visit. Yet, sweating during exercise and sweating sitting in the sauna isn’t the same.
“When we sweat during exercise, it may indicate that we’re reaching a level of exertion that is good for our cardiovascular health,” Malone said. “Research has also shown that sauna use is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death, which may be due to stress relief rather than the sweating itself. But if you’re wondering if sauna time can replace good ol’ fashion exercise, the answer is no. But some time in the sauna could be beneficial in addition to regular exercise.”
No matter how sweating is induced, proper and additional hydration is essential to stay healthy.
While fluid needs vary based on height and weight, biological sex, type of activity and extent of sweat, the rule is to hydrate more if an activity causes sweating.
“Be sure to hydrate during and after exercise or sitting in a sauna,” Malone said. “You can use the color of your urine as an indicator of hydration. Light-colored urine, like lemonade, is a sign of good hydration, but dark urine, like apple juice, indicates that you are dehydrated.”
Depending on the extent of sweating and the possible loss of electrolytes like sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, you can choose between hydrating with water or a sports drink.
“Water is normally best for rehydrating, but for strenuous activity lasting longer than an hour, you may want to consider an electrolyte drink to help replenish fluids and electrolytes,” Malone said.

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