Why Do Some People Sweat More Than Others?

While working out in the gym, you’ve probably observed that although both you and your friend started jogging on the treadmill at the same time, your friend is completely soaked in sweat, whereas you’ve just started to warm up (a ‘vice versa’ scenario is also quite likely).

Why does that happen? Why do some people sweat so much more than others? Well, before we get to that, let’s first try to understand why we sweat in the first place.

Why do we sweat at all?

sweating

Image Source: Wikipedia.org

Sweating is a very important physiological process of the human body, as it helps to regulate body temperature. When the ambient temperature is high, the moisture present on the body evaporates, which cools us off a bit. We tend to sweat frequently, such as while exercising or in stressful situations, namely when we feel threatened or anxious.

Sweat glands

skin sweat gland

Magnified view of human skin (Image Source: Wikipedia.org)

Sweating is brought about by tiny sweat glands present on the skin all over the body. Humans typically have around 2-4 million sweat glands at the time of their birth. Although women’s skin consists of more sweat glands than men, men still tend to sweat more than women, as their sweat glands are more active, on average.

Factors that affect sweating

Human sweat consists of 99% water and 1% salt and fat. We sweat roughly 1 liter per day. However, there can be a lot of variation in this quantity depending on a number of factors.

Gender

As mentioned earlier, men sweat more than women, despite the latter having more sweat glands. Therefore, if you are a male, your comparison with the rate at which females sweat is baseless.

boy sweating

Boys usually sweat more than girls (Image Source: Wikipedia.org)

Number of sweat glands

The number of sweat glands varies from one individual to another. The effect this has is pretty obvious: more sweat glands equates to more sweat (within the same gender). If you have more sweat glands than your friend (who is of the same gender as you), then you’re naturally going to sweat more.

Intensity of physical activity

You’ve likely observed that the more you exert yourself during a workout session, the more you sweat. The more intensely you engage in any physical activity, the sweatier you are going to get.

this guy knows all about it meme

Ambient temperature

This is actually the most obvious of them all – the amount of ambient heat directly and most obviously impacts the amount of sweating for anyone. If you’re in a hotter setting than your pal, then you will end up more drenched in sweat than them.

Emotions

While taking an examination, where you know the answers to all the questions, sweat-wise, you would be perfectly normal. However, one of your friends, who did not study as thoroughly, may be drenched in sweat. Why does that happen?

too much anxiety meme

The more anxious, scared or worried you are, the more sweaty you shall be!

Body fat

It has been observed that fat/obese people sweat more frequently than their fitter counterparts, because excess body fat acts as an insulator that increases the core body temperature, making one feel hotter and more inclined to sweat.

Hyperhidrosis: A disease

If all the above conditions don’t apply to you, i.e. the ambient temperature is cool, you feel perfectly calm, you are not working out, but rather just sitting in your comfy chair, listening to music, and yet you’re still sweating a lot, then it’s quite likely that you are suffering from a common condition of excessive perspiration called hyperhidrosis.

This condition is generally observed in overweight/obese people with relatively sedentary lifestyles. However, it can be treated with proper medication and certain lifestyle changes, such as cutting down on drinking alcoholic beverages, quitting smoking and reducing your caffeine consumption, and obviously…

exercise meme

Physical exercise, as stated by virtually everyone with a brain in their head or a doctorate to their name, is helpful in many ways. One benefit of exercise is that it makes you feel less awkward in social settings… at least from a ‘sweaty’ standpoint!

References

  1. The Wall Street Journal
  2. Medical Daily
  3. Ask an Engineer / MIT
  4. Medline Plus
The short URL of the present article is: http://sciabc.us/K9sJJ
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About the Author:

Ashish is a Science graduate (Bachelor of Science) from Punjabi University (India). He spends a lot of time watching movies, and an awful lot more time discussing them. He likes Harry Potter and the Avengers, and obsesses over how thoroughly Science dictates every aspect of life… in this universe, at least.

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