Sweat is a bit of a funny thing when you think about it: desirable when we’re working out but considered unwanted and gross at just about every other time. It’s something that happens to everyone, but if we’re not on a treadmill or running a mile, we end up embarrassed when we’re covered in it.
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Despite sweating being a perfectly normal human thing to do, why we do it and what it means for our health isn’t exactly common knowledge. Read the three secrets of sweat below to gain a better understanding of your body and all its functions, even the sometimes unwanted ones!
Sweating Keeps You Alive
The act of sweating is your body’s natural cooling system. When your internal body temperature rises, your glands release sweat to get it down, according to WebMD.
The moisture, which is made up of water, electrolytes and trace fat amounts, is released through your pores and evaporates into the air, cooling your body down. Without sweat, your body temperature could rise unchecked, leading to serious health consequences.
Not All Odors Are Caused By Sweat
Eveyone associates armpit and foot odor that occurs when you’re heated with sweat. While that’s true of armpit odor, which is caused by the oil and protein-based sweat emitted from the apocrine sweat gland mixing with bacteria found on the skin, it’s not usually true of your feet.
Apocrine glands are usually in areas with body hair, like your armpits and genital area, and not in spots with little hair, such as your feet. If you’re got feet that smell when they get sweaty, it may be due to an overgrowth of the micrococcus sedentarius bacteria. This bacteria can thrive if you’re keeping your feet in socks and shoes all day and not letting them air out.
Use deodorants to help keep armpit stench at bay. There’s different brand types available in stores or you can try a natural deodorant, such as a blend of lemon, green tea oil and sandalwood or products that use baking soda.
Wash and air out your feet every day if you’re recoiling in horror every time you take your shoes off. Use a gentle antibacterial soap to clean them as soon as you get home and let them completely air dry before you put any clean socks or shoes back on.
Sweat Is A Stress Warning Sign
Ever sweat profusely when you’re nervous? Not only is that embarrassing, but you probably noticed it and got even more freaked out, making the sweating even worse! Stress can actually make you sweat, as part of your body’s built-in “flight or fight” response, per the Calm Center.
You’re getting worked up, so your body releases hormones to increase things like your blood flow and heart rate. Naturally, this extra work makes your body heat up, so you sweat to keep your body temperate in check. It may have been helpful in the past evolution-wise and does keep you from overheating, but it’s also another thing that may be causing you anxiety.
De-stress yourself as much as possible, particularly before doing something you’re nervous about, to get control over your sweating. Make sure you’re letting your arms and hands get some air. It’s common to do things like shove your hands in your pockets or hold your arms close together when you’re anxious, but this action creates more body heat and increases your sweating. Wear lighter clothes to encourage the evaporation of moisture.
Try taking some deep, calm breaths if all else fails, as this will help you relax and get your sweating under wraps.