Tuesday, July 3, 2018

By the Sweat of the Brow: What to Know About Normal and Excessive Sweating

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There are times when sweating feels a part of the routine -- almost invigorating in some ways. Then, there are the moments when your stomach sinks at the thought of someone catching a whiff of your "personal brand". Neither should bring embarrassment, but the latter certainly can depending on the situation and company.
This post goes out to all those unsure about how much you "should" sweat during different activities. And, what you can do if sweating becomes problematic to your social, professional, and personal life.

Sweating, Activities, and You: What You Ought to Know
You've got over 2 million sweat glands in your body.
That's a lot of different spots to either keep you cool or have you feeling embarrassed. Some have no qualms walking around with stinky pits. Others? They cower in shame at the first thought someone catches the wind.
Why do we sweat?

  • Cooling -- The body produces sweat to help regulate our internal temperature. Without sweating, we'd overheat and possibly expire! The sweat, with air passing, creates a cooling effect even if you don't fully feel it.
  • Detoxify -- Ever notice how great your skin feels after a solid workout? That's your body doing its magic by sweating out stuff like salts and cholesterol. This unclogs pores leaving your skin feeling smooth as butter.
  • Attraction -- That "musk" you give off from sweating is actually doing you a favor with attracting mates. Sweat contains pheromones creating sexual attraction with those "attuned" in your vicinity.

Sweat, surprisingly, doesn't actually smell -- it's the bacteria feeding off the moisture causing the stink. The different type of Sweat Glands, the apocrine in particular, are also the cause of the yellow-ish stain you'll get on clothing.
But... what if I sweat too much?
There's an opposite end of sweating caused by several factors -- like:
Being naturally sweaty (Hyperhidrosis)
Stress and nervousness
Pregnancy or menopause
Diet and medications
Some people are simply prone to more sweating.
What can you do if you feel you sweat "too much"?

  • Watch what you eat -- Avoid spicy and fatty foods, alcohol, or whatever would make you jittery and increase nervousness like too much coffee or energy drinks.
  • Relax -- Learn to relax in stressful situations whether it's deep breathing exercises or stepping away from the situation much like the routine you'd take when dealing with anxiety.
  • Stay cool -- Obvious but worth noting... try to avoid direct sunlight and being out in the hot temperature though wear loose/light clothing and carry a fan if you're stuck in the heat.
  • Take it easy -- Keep the overexertion for the workouts and keep the rest of your day working smart vs heavy lifting and brute-forcing physical activities.
  • Trim the weight -- Extra weight can add extra bodily stress so keep up with that diet and exercise routine to make it a little easier getting around and doing everyday routines.
  • Wipe Down -- Carry a rag or handkerchief to wipe down sweaty areas like your palms and forehead before you interact with others (if this causes embarrassment and more stress).

And, if you're reading this and going through puberty... you're a little out of luck but you can mitigate the oily/pimply outcome of sweating with regular washes.
We All Sweat. Will You Make It a Problem?
Sometimes you've got to pick your battles -- sweating may be one of them. Having access to sweat blocking products will at least help with those embarrassing moments. For all those other times when sweat is flowing normally? Let it be because that's what our body's do. Tell them sorry, not sorry.

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