When author Isak Dinesen poetically wrote, “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea,” her statement was more accurate than she may have realized—especially when it comes to sweat.

With ads peddling the embarrassment and undesirability of sweaty armpits, Americans spent $2.9 billion dollars to benefit from deodorants and antiperspirants in 2012. Ironically, while we were working so hard to prevent and hide our sweat, this underrated bodily function was operating efficiently to keep us healthy.

You and I were designed with anywhere from two to four million sweat glands. Interestingly, women generally have more sweat glands than men, but men’s glands out-sweat women’s.[1] (You’ve no doubt noticed!)

Top 9 Reasons to Work Up a Good Sweat!

Sweating is not something we can do on command, but our nervous system prompts sweating either due to increased body temperature or emotions like fear, anxiety, anger or embarrassment.[2] But sweating serves us in far more wonderful ways than merely signaling a response to heat or emotion.

Perspiration consists primarily of water but also contains salt and other minerals, urea, lactic acid, ammonia and sugar.[3] For millennia, ancient cultures have touted the benefits of sweating in hot baths, steam rooms, and sweat lodges. But we now know that those benefits are much more than folklore.

9 Benefits of Sweating

1. Sweating regulates your body temperature.

Without sweating, your body would quickly overheat and pose a life-threatening situation.[4] Normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. But just a few degrees higher for an extended period can be dangerous. Sweating helps cool your body and maintain a healthy temperature.

2. Sweating cleans your pores.

Sweating opens up your pores and flushes them with water removing dirt, grime, dead skin cells and body oils. The benefit of sweating regularly can prevent and clear up blemishes and other skin problems.[5]

3. Sweating helps rid your body of toxins.

Your skin is the largest organ on your body. The skin absorbs substances and also expels toxins from your body. More research needs to be conducted in this regard, but studies have demonstrated that toxins found in perspiration were not evident in the person’s blood or urine. Sweating has been found to help eliminate environmental toxins such as BPA, DEHP, cadmium, aluminum, and manganese.[6], [7]

4. Sweating helps prevent and fight disease and infection.

Sweat produces nitric oxide, a gas with powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties. Dermcidin, an antimicrobial peptide is also excreted with sweat onto the surface of the skin. The benefit of this healing wonder is known to kill MRSA and other dangerous bacteria.[8]

5. Sweating lowers your risk of kidney stones.

What does sweat have to do with forming kidney stones? First, those who sweat a lot, drink more water—a known deterrent of kidney stones. Second, when you sweat you rid your body of salt that may have otherwise gone to your kidneys to help form stones.[9] The takeaway here is that sweating is a whole lot less painful than passing a kidney stone!

6. Sweating decreases body odor.

What? That’s right. Body odor is associated with the toxins being expelled. So, when you work up a good sweat, you’re cleaning those smelly toxins away.[10] Okay, I’m not saying that a sweaty, detoxified guy is going to smell like a rose, but he won’t smell like a skunk either!

Sweating out toxins

7. Sweating improves circulation.

When your sweat glands kick into gear, they stimulate blood flow in the capillaries in your skin. This results in improved circulation throughout your body.[11]

8. Sweating promotes healing.

Typically, you sweat when you get a fever due to some infection your body is fighting. Sweating increases metabolic activity in your body that stimulates the immune system.[12] This may be why exercise that induces sweating seems to help heal a cold more quickly.

9. Sweating helps relieve stress.

There’s nothing like a good sweat to clear body and mind! Sweat helps relieve muscle tension brought on by stress.[13] If you’ve ever relaxed in a hot springs, hot tub, or sauna, I’m sure you’ve experienced this stress relieving effect.

How to Work up a Good Sweat

There’s good news for those who are adamantly opposed to exercise. Apparently, the benefits of sweating can also be experienced in a sauna—wet, dry or infrared, or in a hot bath.[14] Obviously, when you exercise to bring on a sweat, you’re getting a two-for-one benefit that you won’t achieve in a sauna or hot bath. But hey—there’s room for both methods in our lives to work up a good sweat!

Just writing this piece I’ve worked up an appetite for a healthy sweat! How about you? What are you going to do to get those pores a flowin’ and those toxins a goin’? Grab a friend and go for a brisk walk, hike, run, or bike ride.

Or, when was the last time you sat in a sauna? Perhaps you don’t own one, but know someone who does. Share this article with them and invite yourself over—tell them you’ll bring the wine!

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Rob_FischerRob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors.
[1] Dr. Mercola, “Is It Good to Sweat?” January 10, 2014, http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2014/01/10/sweating-benefits.aspx.
[2] Dr. Mercola.
[3] FitDay, “Sweating: Why It’s Good for You,” 2012, http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/exercises/sweating-why-its-good-for-you.html#b.
[4] MSN Healthy Living, “How Sweating Is Good for Your Health,” nd, http://healthyliving.msn.com/health-wellness/how-sweating-is-good-for-your-health-2#2.
[5] MSN Healthy Living.
[6] Dr. Mercola.
[7] MSN Healthy Living.
[8] MSN Healthy Living.
[9] Dr. Mercola.
[10] Dr. Mercola.
[11] MSN Healthy Living.
[12] MSN Healthy Living.
[13] FitDay.
[14] Dr. Mercola.