[By Anna Laurie]
Growing up as part of the MTV generation from the 80’s, we all wanted to be like Alex, the protagonist played by Jennifer Beals in Flashdance. The messy hair, the headband, the legwarmers and the ripped sweatshirt sliding off one shoulder; she was just perfect, dripping sweat and all. However, the truth be told, all that intense perspiration is hardly sexy in real life. You are definitely not alone if you think that sweat isn’t very pleasing to deal with, but read on for some rather intriguing facts about sweating. Once you realise the health benefits of sweating and what better ways to control it, a drop or more doesn’t seem too bad after all.
Not getting any gratification from the whole post-weekend juice detox plan? Trade in your Gucci and Louboutins for some Stella McCartney and Nike and skip the dancefloor for the gymfloor to work up a super sweat session instead. Experts believe that sweating can flush the body of system-clogging substances like alcohol, cholesterol, salt, mercury and lead, making it a great way to detoxify and cleanse your body from the hedonistic night-outs of dietary decadence and indiscretions. Get the most bang for your bod with indoor cycling or circuit training, two of the most intense workout routines around guaranteed to whip your body into a sweating frenzy!
Surprisingly, sweating can actually lead to clearer, blemish free skin. When we sweat, our pores open up and allow the grit and grim that had built up inside them to slide off the skin. In this way, sweating helps to keep your skin looking healthy and glowing.
However, don’t just stop there.
Keep a gentle cleanser handy so that you can wash away the accumulated “debris” two to three times a day, especially after an adrenaline pumping game or intense workout.
The evaporation of sweat off the skin helps lower one’s body temperature and prevents us from overheating. A common catchphrase of my personal fitness trainer, “sweat is fat crying”, sums up why we sweat when we exercise, because our body literally heats up to burn calories. It may come as a surprise to many that sweat actually does not smell. The unpleasant stench of body odour is produced by bacteria on the skin that break down the ordourless sweat into acids. The apocrine sweat glands that are found in hairy parts of the body such as the armpits and genital are mainly responsible for offensive body odour, because the sweat they produce contains high levels of protein which are easily broken down by skin bacteria.
If anti-perspirants are no longer an effective solution, opt for Botox miroinjections to stop excessive sweating! Yes, you heard me right the first time. Besides erasing pesky crow’s feet and tramtrack forehead lines, Botox can be used to stop excessive sweating, otherwise known as hyperhidrosis, in targeted areas such as underarms and palms.“Almost all patients notice decreased sweating in less than a week and often wish that they had sought this treatment option much earlier to avoid those years of social embarassment and teasing they had to put up with,” explains Dr. Toby Hui, medical consultant with The Sloane Clinic. “Results which are often hailed as ‘life-changing’, typically last for 6-8 months after a single session of treatment, and can be repeated thereafter for maintenance of sweat and odour-free days.”
Stone no more
Scientific studies from UCLA show that individuals who exercise regularly sweat out salt and tend to retain calcium in their bones, rather than having them excreted in urine with a consequently higher risk of kidney stones.
Frequent sweaters also tend to drink more water to replensih their fluid lost, which is another well documented mechanism that doctors encourage one to adopt so as to lower the risk of kidney stones formation.
Happy sweaty camper
Have you noticed how a good run in the park can do wonders to your crabby mood? Sweating can make you happier with the release of copious amount of endophins, the “feel good” hormones that we can never get enough of. Research has suggested that temperature-sensitive neural circuits to certain parts of our brain do exist and possibly play a crucial role in controlling the high and low of our ever changing mood! So the next time you run into an emotional runt, take a break for a kickboxing class or a sprint a mile and sweat it all out for a happy camper smile!
* Selected as Article of the Month Nov 2014*