We consider sweat to be the physical effect of hard work. The more we sweat, the more calories we’ll burn, and the more effective our workout will have been – right? Well, not necessarily.
Some people are quick to perspire, breaking out in dripping sweat from small tasks, or even warm temperatures with no activity. While others can complete an entire exercise class without the slightest smudge of makeup removed.
So what are the benefits of sweating, and how does it actually affect our workout? The function of sweat is to regulate you body temperature, or basically to cool the body down when it becomes overheated. There are some mixed reviews as to sweat’s actual role in detoxing your body and eliminating toxins, but we do know that sweat allows water to release from your body. This in turn causes you to drink more water to replace what you lost from sweating. And by drinking plenty of water, your gastrointestinal, urinary, and cardiovascular systems will work far better, naturally detoxifying tissues and cells and clear the waste more readily from the body. Aim for 16 oz before your workout, and after your workout, to prevent dehydration.
Does sweating cause you to lose weight? In truth, traditional sweating actually has nothing to do with how many calories you burn during exercise, or ultimately how much weight you will lose. The number of calories depends on the intensity and duration of your workout. In a workout, some people are also affected by the clothes they’re wearing (how breathable it is, or isn’t), as well as the temperature of the room, which may cause more perspiration. But keep in mind that sometimes those conditions can also exhaust you quicker, and potentially shorten your workout, depending on the person. We do know that a heated environment does increase blood flow, delivering more oxygenated blood to the muscles. Muscle tone and flexibility can be improved this way, so incorporating an occasional heated class is a good option to supplement your fitness regimen. And regardless of how much you sweat, drinking plenty of water after a workout will not only replenish any water lost, but improve your muscle recovery, reduce soreness and prevent dehydration.
So how many calories will I burn? Cardio training (like swimming, running, biking) burns calories above the average rate of other exercises, during your actual exercise time. But once you’ve finished your workout, your body will cool off, return to it’s normal state quickly, and your calorie burn is complete. Strength-training (like resistance training, weight training, and body weight exercises) not only builds and tones your muscles, but the increase in muscle mass will boost your metabolism. This means you will end up burning more calories at rest. When you combine the two and pair it with a timed routine, you have interval training. HIIT involves a combination of high-intensity activity followed by recovery stages. Interval training helps you burn more calories with shorter, intense workouts compared to long and steady exercises.
All three of these formats are advantageous in their own rights, and all three are elements of our different class types at Neighborhood Barre, so they should be considered as part of your regular fitness routine. However the frequency of each type will ultimately depend on your wellness goals, and may change with each season of life, or maybe even each day, depending on how your body is currently feeling. Even though sweating has little effect on how many calories you burn or how much weight you lose, cardio, strength, and interval training is sure to have you breaking a sweat to get you in better shape, and burn calories, in record time! Don’t let the amount of sweat be the driver for how effective, or hard, your workout actually was. Let the results speak for themselves – how do you feel?! If you haven’t tried the variety of classes at your local Neighborhood Barre studio, now is the time! Don’t forget, we also have streaming online workouts available. Sign up for a new class style this week, and get sweaty, while burning more calories, in a new way.