fitness · temperature and exercise

Late-summer sweating update

We at Fit is a Feminist Issue work hard to cover all aspects of physical activity experience as we change sports, increase or decrease exertion, as the seasons change, and as we all move through the life trajectory. Fads and fashions have come and gone over the last almost-eleven years, but one topic, at least, has remained: sweat.

No, I didn't mean that kind of sweat. I meant the human kind. But thanks, Greg Rosenke on Unsplash for the picture. It's two clear glass bottles of cold water, with conde
I didn’t mean that kind of sweat; rather, the human kind. But thanks, Greg Rosenke (Unsplash) for the cool (and cooling) picture.

We’ve written a fair amount about sweating– the process, the results, the downsides, the advantages. etc. Here are a few posts you might check out when you get a good spot next to the air conditioner:

However much we at the blog (well, me, mainly) complain about how unkempt sweating feels, it’s a necessary human function. According to this scholarly article from the Journal of Thermal Biology:

The human eccrine sweat gland is central to the evolution of the human genus, permitting an enormous thermoregulatory sweating capacity that was essential to the human niche of high physical activity in open, hot, semi-arid environments.

The article adds, though, that we don’t know much about how we– the humans– differ across groups with respect to sweating. This issue will, or rather has become more important as we continue to experience record hot temperatures all over the globe. Human capacity to sweat is crucial for cooling. But for sweating to cool effectively, the sweating must be following by evaporation, which brings about cooling.

One thing we do know: life is likely to get sweatier.  “I suspect everyone is going to be quite drippy,” says University of Pennsylvania sweat researcher Yana Kamberov, in this Atlantic article on the future of sweating.

I think she’s right. Sweating is something I’ve complained about and taken for granted, but it serves us fur-less mammals very well. Maybe it’s even something to be proud of, the Atlantic article suggests:

Sweat is one of the “key milestones” in human evolution, argues Andrew Best, a biological anthropologist at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts—on par with big brains, walking upright, and the expression of culture through language and art.

Well, alright then. If sweating is right up there with the ability to compose symphonies, then I can take pride in my virtuosic sogginess-production. Followed up by a shower, of course. Nonetheless, I hereby promise not to write any more complainy, whinge-y posts about how much I don’t like sweating. I’ll just mop my brow (and the rest of me) and be grateful… 🙂

Readers, how to do feel about sweat? Does it bother you? Do you love the feeling? Lemme know.

2 thoughts on “Late-summer sweating update

  1. I’m with you on hating the sweaty feeling! It is one of the reasons I prefer to swim or cycle. I don’t mind working up a sweat as long as it disappears immediately into cool water or a breeze.

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