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5 Reasons Why Sweat is Good for Athletes

Benefits of Sweating
Benefits of Sweating
Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Sweat is a natural by-product of physical activity, and has a surprising number of health benefits. Most people understand that sweat is integral to cooling down the body. As sweat evaporates off the skin, body temperature drops. Athletes know how effective sweat is for ridding the body of excess heat, but it also benefits athletes’ bodies in many overlooked ways.

From keeping the skin clear to keeping athletes healthy, sweat production due to working out or being in a hot environment is valuable. Athletes may look dirty and grimy after exercising, but it is actually a great way for the body to clean itself inside and out. So why is the production of sweat so good for athletes?

  • Eliminates pain: A side effect of working out is that sweat stimulates neurochemical pathways in the brain. The signals sent to the brain after sweat is produced cause the brain to release endorphins, the body’s natural pain relievers.
  • Clears skin: Plugged pores open when sweat is released. It eliminates dead skin cells, oils, and toxins trapped in the pores. After sweat clears clogged pores, it is important to clear the body of sweat buildup on skin. Leaving sweat on the skin can block glands and cause heat rash.
  • Eliminates toxins: Sweat clears the body of toxins – such as alcohol, cholesterol, and salt – that build up inside. Sweat also contains small amounts of toxins like cadmium, aluminum, and manganese, in addition to other compounds. The body releases toxic chemicals through sweat, making it a natural detoxicant.
  • Encourages good circulation: Sweat increases blood circulation to the skin and blood vessels connected to sweat glands. As blood flow spurs the sweat glands to work, flow to the skin increases. Athletes can increase circulation through regular sweat producing workouts or saunas.
  • Fights illness and infections: Sweat not only opens pores to release toxins, it also contains natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties created by nitrite oxide on the skin’s surface. Hard-to-treat skin infections, such as MRSA, can be fended off by sweat’s natural antibacterial properties. When sick, allowing the body to sweat stimulates the body’s metabolism, which then boosts the immune system. Fever and sweating are the body’s natural methods for fighting sickness, which is why people who are ill are often encouraged to “sweat it out.”

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