The time has come to refute one of the most widespread (and most harmful) misconceptions in fitness. Dear readers, the bitter truth: when you sweat you do not necessarily lose weight. In other words: you are very wrong if you think that the more you sweat the more you lose weight. I will show you why. Let us start from the beginning: sweat is nothing but a liquid that the sweat glands in the human body secrete. It is composed mostly of water, plus sodium, chlorine, potassium, magnesium, iron, copper (in small quantities), vitamins, hormones, urea, creatinine, amino acids, lactic acid and glucose. Did I make any reference to fats? You are right: I did not. Sweat does not contain fats, nor does it initiate a chemical reaction that burns fats. It does not serve as a crash diet. Through perspiration our body lowers its temperature, so it does not overheat during work or physical exercise. The human body is naturally maintained at a temperature of 96.8-98.6 °F (36-37 °C): this process is called thermal homeostasis (meaning balance ). During physical exercise the body temperature increases , and this could lead to energy loss , dizziness , dehydration and (in extreme cases) even to death . Sweat is one of the human body's cooling systems: liquids are secreted by sweat glands and excreted by pores (microscopic openings in the skin): they evaporate and dissipate excess body heat and maintain body temperature in an acceptable range. You can easily imagine how harmful it is to impede such a process. Nevertheless since the 80's many companies began to distribute and advertise unlikely devices to help weight loss through sweating: nylon jumpsuits, body wraps, K-Way and so on. Wearing such devices during physical exercise has no positive effects on weight loss and can represent a serious risk to the sportswoman. In fact they increase sweating considerably, but they keep sweat from evaporating, impeding thermal homeostasis. Body temperature rises sharply and the body overheats , with all negative consequences involved. Besides, with the body overheating you will be forced to slow down , and eventually to stop : in the end you will burn less fats. And now, some more tips . As you know, up to 65% of the human body is composed by water. You will suffer early symptoms of dehydration when you lose as little as 2% of water level. A 5% water level loss brings asthenia , cramps , nausea and respiratory distress . Besides, while dehydrating the body progressively loses the ability to control its thermal balance, and this leads to a vicious cycle I am sure you do not want to experience. As a result, helping perspiration is a crucial aspect when performing physical exercise: you should always ease thermal homeostasis with adequate clothing. During the average day the human body loses a half-gallon (2 liters) of water in urine, perspiration and respiration. You should always:
Just a little postscript : I am sure that, when you sweat a lot, you weight and you are pleased to discover that you have lost some pounds. Do not be deceived: what is missing is not fat , but liquids that you will reintegrate as soon as you drink.
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