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Does Sweating Really Equate a Good Workout?

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Because of trends in exercise, those who are new at it become overwhelmed by too much information. They can lose sight of the fact, they can keep it simple and still give their body great benefit over sitting on the couch. Exercise does not have to be complicated, but there are a few basics you should understand if you are new to it.

When we open up magazines, social media sites, or any other media where exercise classes and routines are written about, or advertised, we can see a trend of “trainers” making workouts  extremely difficult to accomplish, while also advocating doing them in a hot environment to make people sweat more. People believe that the more difficult the exercise, and the more it makes you sweat, then it must be better than something not as complicated which may make you perspire only a little bit. Neither scenario is actually better than the other for the newbie who is new to exercise. It is an assumption that sweating more means you worked harder and therefore there is often a sense of accomplishment when one looks down on the floor and see that they are standing in a puddle of sweat. It is more satisfying to walk out of the gym in sweaty clothes rather than dry clothes for sure, but that sweat does not necessarily mean your session was better than the non-sweaty session.

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Sweating more because you are exercising in a hot environment only means that you are struggling to cool your body. It does not mean that you are training more effectively. I realize that many people will not want to accept this premise, but sweat only helps you when it evaporates off of your body, it does you no good when it is puddled on the floor at your feet. While this is not a problem for those who know to keep their body well hydrated, the problem comes when those who are new to fitness do not keep their body well hydrated.  Dehydration can have a wide range of effects on our body, from minor deficits in performance to life threatening illness. Performance can be drastically affected by even a minor level of dehydration, regardless of whether the dehydration results from exercise, or prior to beginning your workout session.

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When you exercise, it is imperative that you consume fluids in order to maintain your blood volume. As that puddle of sweat on the floor increases, the volume of your blood decreases, which means that your sodium level becomes more concentrated. When this happens,  your blood vessels constrict in order to maintain adequate blood pressure, and a anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) and the natural steroid aldosterone work together to trigger the kidneys to reabsorb and retain as much water as they can. Exercise increases your blood volume so you can supply more oxygen to working muscles, and also so that you have a larger fluid reservoir for sweat production. When you allow this reservoir to dry up, your ability to cool yourself is greatly reduced, thus your core temperature begins to rise and your ability to exercise will diminish.

You must keep yourself well hydrated when beginning any form of exercise my friends.

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