Men are More Efficient at Sweating than Women, say Scientists

Men are More Efficient at Sweating than Women, say Scientists

When you work out on the treadmill, take a hot yoga class or barely survive a boot camp, you will notice several things happen to your body. Your heart will beat quicker, breathing will be heavier and you will most likely begin to sweat. The human body will sweat in a response to keep itself cool and safe when our internal temperature increases above 98 degrees.

Sweating during exercise is a sign of an efficient cooler and this mechanism is extremely vital for avoiding heat illness such as heat exhaustion, muscle cramping and the most dangerous of all, heat stroke. While fit people produce more sweat than sedentary folks, they can also lose less sodium because more of it is reabsorbed by the body; the result is a more efficient cooler. It is extremely vital that when we exercise we need to replace lost fluids from our body. Water or electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade are both very good choices.

A Japanese study finds that women have to exercise harder than men while exercising in order to begin sweating. Furthermore, men are far more efficient at sweating, say scientists at Osaka International University and Kobe University in Japan.

“It appears that women are at a disadvantage when they need to sweat a lot during exercise, especially in hot conditions,” said Yoshimitsu Inoue, the study’s coordinator.

The study, published in the Journal Experimental Physiology, instructed 37 people – 20 women and 17 men – to cycle continuously for an hour in a controlled climate with increasing intensity intervals. The subjects were divided into four groups; females with training experience and females without training experience, men who had training experience and men without training experience. Finally, the rate at which they produced sweat was measured.

It was found that females without a training background had to work harder or have a higher body temperature in order to achieve a maximal activated sweat gland response. Scientists also suggest that increases in the sweat gland’s response to exercise were less among trained females than trained males. This could be because men have higher testosterone levels than women, and testosterone may enhance the sweating response.

Mr. Inoue also explained why he believes the sexes have evolved to sweat differently.

“Women generally have less body fluid than men and may become dehydrated more easily. Therefore the lower sweat loss in women may be an adaptation strategy that attaches importance to survival in a hot environment, while the higher sweat rate in men may be a strategy for greater efficiency of action or labour,” he said.

The research findings have implications for exercise and heat tolerance in humans, including shedding light on why the sexes cope differently with extremes of temperature like heatwaves. Future research will be examining the effectiveness of different kinds of sweat, and also analyzing how the sweating response relates to reproductive hormones.

Vancouver Health Coach