Good Sweat

Good Sweat
by Rachel Feidelman

Sweating has it some obvious benefits: it cools down the body when exerting energy or overheating, it cleanses the body of toxins, and above all, it feels good. Whether you go for a run, hit the gym, attend yoga classes or simply relax in a sauna, each of these activities produces sweat, and in turn, the participant reaps multiple perks, many of which go unnoticed.

First, sweating reduces break-outs. Many people are warned that oil blocks pores and will cause acne as a result. While this is true in some cases, sweat actually is not oil. Most sweat consists of mainly water and small amounts of electrolyte minerals that vary based on one’s diet and heat exposure. When sweating, pores open and the toxins building up inside of them are released.

Sweating also strengthens the immune system. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences performed a study in 2013 revealing that when sweating, the human body produces a natural antibiotic called dermcidin. Dermcidin works more efficiently to fight bugs and viruses than non-natural antibiotics, as germs cannot develop an immunity to it as quickly.

Not only does sweating have the potential to reduce illness, it also speeds up healing time of wounds. The eccrine sweat glands hold an essential supply of adult stem cells, which work to regenerate skin cells when healing from a burn, scrape or cut, according to University of Michigan researchers.

However, there is such thing as too much sweat. It’s crucial to shower in a timely manner after sweating, as bacteria will build up and cause an entirely separate set of issues. So go out there and break a sweat, but remember that letting it sit on your skin for longer does not make it more beneficial.

Rachel Feidelman is a student at the University of Maryland, studying journalism and economics. She is also an editorial intern with Natural Awakenings DC.

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