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Why Do I Sweat So Much When I Run?

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Believe it or not, some people naturally sweat more than others. In addition, how much you sweat may be your body trying to tell you something.  First things first.

How Much Do You Sweat When Running?

As surprising as it may seem, the amount someone sweats really can vary a great deal. The average person sweats between .8 liters and 1.4 liters per hour of vigorous exercise.

That can actually equate to anywhere from one to three pounds for an hour of exercise. If you are exercising for any length of time, proper hydration before, during and after exercise is crucial to keeping yourself safe and healthy.

How much you sweat is determined by various factors.

What Determines How Much I Sweat?

  • How Many Sweat Glands You Have: A person has anywhere from two to five million sweat glands. That’s right! It really varies that much from person to person.
  • Outdoor Temperature: Of course, it stands to reason that the outdoor temperature will also impact how much you sweat. If you are running outside and it is -20, you will sweat less than if it is 105 degrees out. However, it is an untrue misconception that you don’t sweat when it is cold out. Swimmers even sweat in the water during a challenging workout!
  • Resting Body Temperature: Your resting body temp also comes into consideration. Some people simply run hot. Others have a normal resting body temperature so when you get that elevated, watch out. You feel super hot, super fast!
  • The Specific Exercise: Believe it or not, the specific exercise you are doing also matters. And even that component is highly individualized. Let me explain. Some things are pretty obvious. While you can be engaging in a very vigorous workout on a bicycle outdoors, you may not feel as hot because you are feeling the breeze as you move along. Running, on the other hand, you are likely going to feel much warmer given the same external temperature, even if you are keeping your heart rate at the same level which implies the same amount of work.

People used to assume that a thicker person would sweat more than a thinner person, but research debunked that myth. They found that two people with the same weight (but different heights) who did the same exercise with the same pace sweat relatively equally. In other words, the person who appeared to be “heavier for height” or “less in shape” did not sweat more.

Staying Comfortable: Clothing Matters

Everyone sweats. It is just a natural result of exerting yourself and/or being in hot temperatures. What you wear can help determine if you will be miserable during your workout. Think back to high school gym class when you smacked around a volleyball in an extra-large tee shirt. By the end of class, the cotton tee was clinging to your body.

jogging sweat and hydration

Today’s fabrics mean you do not have to suffer like that. You can wear moisture-wicking materials such as polyester. Fabrics that wick moisture keeps the sweat away from your body. Sure you are still sweating, but at least the sweat isn’t pooling against your skin causing chafe.

Why Do I Sweat After My Run?

Exercise raises your core body temperature. Your body sweats as a natural response to that. Attempting to cool your body down, sweat results. Due to this response, your body can (and often will) continue to sweat long after you have ended the physical activity. This is normal.

Everyone does have their own normal in that regard. Personally, I stop sweating rather quickly after exercising. My best running buddy Casey, on the other hand, is a Sweaty Betty. We are roughly the same body type, burn roughly the same number of calories during a run and run side by side at the same pace. Yet, she sweats way more and longer than I do.

See the photo below? Those are some of my running buddies. Casey is in the yellow and that’s me, all the way to the right, in the red and pink.

Running and sweat
Green Bay, WI November 2019

Is It Bad To Sweat A Lot?

Nah. Honestly, being an excessive sweater is more likely to damage your self-esteem than your body. Of course, if you sweat a ton and fail to restore your electrolytes you could end up with severe dehydration.

If you are smart and hydrate properly before, during and post-workout, sweating won’t hurt you one little bit.

Does Sweating Help You Lose Fat?

I remember hearing people say that they would wear extra layers to work up their jogging sweat. These people have the misconception that the more you sweat during a workout, the more fat you would burn and the more weight you would lose. That is not true.

sports drinks

However, it is true that while you cool down and sweat post-workout, it is a sign that your body has been through a noteworthy process. You guessed it! This is an indicator that you are burning calories!

Fastest Ways To Cool Down When Sweating

Adding some ice to your water or sports drink that you drink post-workout can help cool you down faster than drinking warm liquids. The cold liquid actually signals your brain to stop sweating.

Another helpful tip is to take a cool shower. It does not have to be frigid cold to cool your body down.

Standing in front of a fan or air conditioner will help you stop sweating quicker, also. Which makes sense, as it cools the entire body down quickly.

Lastly, putting an ice pack or a cold compress on the back of your neck is another way to quickly cool down your body.

Does It Matter?

Many people worry about jogging sweat and think if they are not sweating as much as the person next to them that it appears they are not working as hard. Other people feel like sweating too much is abnormal or gross.

What it comes down to is that there are no two people exactly alike. How much your body sweats and how long the sweating will continue make you as unique as your fingerprint. Try not to overthink it.

The important thing is that you are getting a workout in!


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