Men Perspire, Women Glow: Men Are More Efficient at Sweating, Study Finds! (Doesn’t it just figure?)

I don’t know about anybody else , but I can’t embrace yoga while practicing next to a guy who profusely sweats, sprays and drips all over me with every arm reach, leg extension and spinal twist. I know it’s not deliberate or even his fault…. It’s just disgusting! Rarely do I see a woman in class using two and three towels to mop up her sweat or switch out her yoga toes towel. What’s the deal? Why do men sweat so much? As women go, I consider myself an active and healthy sweater and love the physical detox following a strenuous workout. Secretly, I often wish I could sweat like a guy especially when I’ve dined on chinese food or movie popcorn the night before. I’m sure there is a sound physiologic explanation for yet another remarkable dissimilarity among the sexes. Might someone explain?

Answer

ScienceDaily (Oct. 8, 2010) – Women have to work harder than men in order to start sweating, while men are more effective sweaters during exercise, according to new research published in the journal Experimental Physiology.

The study by Japanese scientists at Osaka International University and Kobe University looked at differences between men and women’s sweating response to changes in exercise intensity. The researchers asked four groups of subjects (trained and untrained females, trained and untrained males) to cycle continuously for an hour in a controlled climate with increasing intensity intervals.

The results showed that men are more efficient at sweating. While exercise training improves sweating in both sexes, the degree of improvement is greater in men, with the difference becoming even more pronounced as the level of exercise intensity increases. The untrained females had the worst sweating response of all requiring a higher body temperature than the other groups (or work intensity) to begin sweating. In other words, women need to get hotter than men before they get sweaty.

The study’s coordinator Yoshimitsu Inoue commented: ‘It appears that women are at a disadvantage when they need to sweat a lot during exercise, especially in hot conditions.’

‘s advantage and allows them to perform longer. This is the first study, however, to investigate the sex differences in the effects of physical training on the sweating response during exercise.

The findings have implications for exercise and heat tolerance in humans, including shedding light on Previous studies have demonstrated that men have a higher sweat output than women, in part because testosterone is believed to enhance the sweating response. Physical training is known to decrease the body’s core temperature threshold for the activation of the sweating response, which works to the athletewhy the sexes cope differently with extremes of temperature like heat waves.

Inoue believes there may be an evolutionary reason why men and women have evolved to sweat differently. ‘Women generally have less body fluid than men and may become dehydrated more easily,’ he explains. ‘Therefore the lower sweat loss in women may be an adaptation strategy that attaches importance to survival in a hot environment, while the higher sweat rate in men may be a strategy for greater efficiency of action or labour.’

Inoue says future studies will look more closely at the relationship between reproductive hormones and the sweating response as well as the effectiveness of different kinds of sweat (sweat that evaporates and cools versus sweat that drops off).

In the meantime, Inoue advises women should take more care than men in hot conditions. But he adds, ‘Both men and women can acclimate themselves better to heat if they exercise regularly before a heat wave comes.’

Editor’s Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

According to a new article in Fitness magazine, wiping the sweat off your brow during a workout can actually make the job you are doing seem a lot harder. Scientists have always known sweating aides the body in keeping cool during an intense workout, but fitness experts are now helping us use that knowledge to our advantage. They say to keep the sweat coming lets your body know you are still working hard, and without that knowledge, your mind perceives the workout as more intense since you are interfering with the cooling process.

Our bodies use sweat to lower the body temperature through evaporative cooling; the skin becomes wet and any small movement produces enough breeze to flow across the wet skin, cooling the body and helping lower the temperature. If you wipe the sweat away with a towel, you are making it harder for the body to keep its steady temperature, creating a “harder” workout in your mind. Not only can a towel cause this affect, but the clothing you wear can too. Fitness clothing is not just another way to make money; the moisture wicking fabrics actually serve a purpose in making your workout easier for you.

It feels good to know you’re breaking into a sweat during an intense workout, and now you can take pleasure in showing it off.

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Journal Reference:

T. Ichinose-Kuwahara, Y. Inoue, Y. Iseki, S. Hara, Y. Ogura, N. Kondo. Sex differences in the effects of physical training on sweat gland responses during a graded exercise. Experimental Physiology, 2010; 95 (10): 1026 DOI: 10.1113/expphysiol.2010.05371

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Comments

  1. lois rubin says:

    great article and as you know i love to sweat…..glow

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