Excessive Sweating While Exercising – Is It Good or Bad?

Excessive sweating while exercising

Besides hot weather, exercising and physical activity are the most common triggers of sweating. It is obvious, while you are doing exercising, your body temperature rises, and your sweat glands are activated. Produced sweat cools the body and keeps all your organs and bodily processes safe. Excessive sweating while exercising can sometimes be very tricky. Some of us can feel like they sweat too much in comparison with other people, and it makes them insecure. In this article, we are going to have a look at what are the causes of profuse perspiration during exercise, and when it should be a sign of some health difficult. 

Related: Excessive Sweating While Running – A Normal Reaction or Symptom of Some Disease?


Shortly About How Does Sweating Works

We know that perspiration is a natural reaction of the organism for increased temperature. An optimal temperature inside of the body is around 37ºC (98.6ºF). When this level goes up, your brain, specifically hypothalamus, send a signal to your sweat glands and activates them. Then sweat works as a cooling fluid and tries to keep the temperature normal. But there is a quite significant difference between how we do sweat. Perspiration process hangs from many factors, such as gender, age, genetics, climate, and condition.


Sweat as a Health Indicator

As we outlined above, the way how we sweat varies from person to person. If you compare two healthy persons, the same weight, build, and sex, the level of perspiration can be very different. That’s why it is difficult to say what level of sweating is normal and when the sweating becomes excessive. Due to this fact, sweating is usually not a reliable indicator of health, although permanent abnormal perspiration not only during exercise should be a reason to visit a doctor. It can point out some disease or health disorder staying behind profuse sweating.


Does Sweating More Means You Are Fit?











The answer is yes! Excessive sweating while exercising is usually a good signal that you are getting fit. Researches show that people who exercise regularly, run, cycle, or do other sports start to sweat sooner and more profusely than those who don’t do any physical activities. The reason is that athletes can generate more power and energy that affect increasing the core body temperature and sweat is a natural response for this heat. If you are a trained and experienced sportler, your sweating mechanism will work more effectively, and you are more protected against overheating. The way how we sweat depends on several factors, we are going to talk about them later, but generally speaking, it is normal and healthy when you sweat excessively during exercise. 


When to Be Concerned About Profuse Sweating While Exercising?

Despite the fact that a higher level of perspiration during exercising is normal, in some cases, it should be a sign of some underlying health disorder. The main difference is that people with a health problem that causes profuse perspiration sweat excessively not only while exercising but also while doing common activities. Most of them sweat too much during the day, or they experience night sweats. There are many possible conditions that can affect excessive sweating. Besides primary hyperhidrosis, which is a congenital tendentious to sweat more, pregnancy, menopause, hormonal changes in puberty, there are several diseases that cause a higher level of perspiration. You can find them in the article 14 Illnesses that cause sweating.


What Causes Excessive Sweating When Exercising

The number of sweat glands

According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, we have between 2 – 4 million sweat glands all over the body. As you can see, the range is quite wide. If one has 3 million sweat glands and the other one with a similar physique has 4 millions of sweat glands, they will sweat differently. The number of sweat glands also depends on how big the body is. Heavy men of 100 kg will logically have more sweat glands than small tiny girls.


A research made by Japanese scientists has proven that men sweat more than women. This fact is not related to the number of sweat glands, but to different functioning of the sweating mechanism. It is apparent, especially while exercising. Men normally start to sweat sooner and in bigger amount. It means men’s body needs less temperature, increasing to start sweating. Another fact is that men’s sweat gland produces more amount of sweat than women. 


Age is another factor that has an influence on how we sweat. According to the study published in BioMed Research International Volume, older people have a different response to thermal impulses than younger people, which makes them less sensitive to thermal changes. Older individuals start to sweat later and less, which is not caused by a reduction in the number of activated sweat glands, but by an amount of sweat produced per gland. These changes in sweat production can be as a result of the aging of sweat glands (sweat gland atrophy) or a decreasing of their sensitivity.


We already mentioned that sweat also depends on how “big” we are. The bigger the body is, the more sweat glands it has. That’s why overweight people sweat more than thinner ones. The entire body construction and condition of all organs have also impact on perspiration. For example, people with smaller lungs capacity start to be exhausted sooner than others, which means they start to sweat earlier.   


Excessive sweating can be caused by congenital predisposition. In this case, we talk about a condition called primary hyperhidrosis. Experts don’t know what exactly is the underlying reason for this kind of hyperhidrosis, but the genetic aspect is apparent due to positive family history. Healthy people who sweat profusely often have siblings or parents with the same symptoms. People with hyperhidrosis sweat excessively during exercising just because they also sweat much more even while watching TV or walking on the street.

Origin and climatic conditions

People born in a hot climate have a usually higher tolerance for heat, which means their sweat glands need higher increasing of temperature to start producing sweat. They are also less prone to body odor. According to one research, East Asian have much fewer problems with smelling body because of genetic predisposition and a lower amount of apocrine sweat glands.

Health condition

This is a very important factor due to the proper functioning of the sweating mechanism. We already know that healthy and fit people sweat earlier and more because all parts of the perspiration process work well. People who sweat excessively during exercising but also during common activities or at night can have secondary hyperhidrosis. It is an excessive sweating caused by some other health disorder or illness. In the article About Secondary Hyperhidrosis – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnostics and Treatment Possibilities, you can find all you need to know about this condition.


Benefits of Sweating While Exercising

Benefits of sweating while exercisingSweating is a natural accompanying of physical exertion. Except ensuring the proper thermoregulatory function, sweating seems to be beneficial in terms of detoxication. Scientific research shows that the level of heavy metals is lower in people who exercise regularly. These metals are found in urine and sweat, and perspiration related to physical activity helps with getting rid of them. Sweating plays an important role also in reducing of other harmful substances such as organic chemical bisphenol A (BPA), or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB). 


What to Do With Excessive Sweating While Exercising

Now we know, that heavy sweating during exercising is healthy and it is a sign that you are fit. In the case that you sweat profusely not only when exercising but also while relaxing or doing common activities, the best thing you can do is visit a doctor. A physician can ask you questions and make some tests that can help with a finding a reason behind your condition. 

9 Comments on “Excessive Sweating While Exercising – Is It Good or Bad?”

  1. Hi

    You mention in your article that east-Asian people sweat less.  I come from Anglo-Saxon lineage and I am married to a Vietnamese woman.  She is always complaining about my body odor.  We exercise regularly and I do not sweat a lot.  Is there anything you can recommend in terms of reducing body odor, apart from using deodorants?

    1. Thanks, Aaron, for your comment!

      We can recommend you an article How to reduce body odor? Causes and prevention tips. You can find there some useful tips. Body odor (also called Bromhidrosis) is released when sweat meets bacteria naturally living on our skin. It means, if you want to get rid of body odor, you have to reduce sweating (with antiperspirant, iontophoresis or other treatment) and limit these bacteria by proper hygiene, clothing and using deodorants. 

  2. Awesome and marvelous article,excessive sweating while exercising according to your article is good for the body which I believe very well and it depend on other factors as you have explained,the body size,sex,age,genetics etc,are all responsible to sweating,there are benefits of sweating which your write-up have stated and explained,Let me ask this question,if someone is sweating profusely without doing any exercise what could be the cause?thanks for sharing this article. 

    1. We are glad, Abayomi, that our article was helpful to you. There are several possible causes of profuse sweating:

      1. Primary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating without any obvious reason, it is a genetic predisposition)

      2. Health condition (pregnancy, menopause…)

      3. Diseases (Diabetes, Infections, Cancer…)

      4. Medicaments (sweating is a side effect of using some medicines)

      If you want to check your sweat, we have designed a quiz called SweatChecker that can help you to know your condition about sweating. Try it now.

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