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The next time you find yourself sweating and think, yuck or gross, flip the script and think: glisten, sparkle and glow. Sweat is a healthy, natural function to cool the body when you exercise, are in hot climates or have a fever. You also sweat in response to anxiety, stress, menopause and the consumption of spicy foods.
While most people think sweat is just water on your skin, our over 4 million sweat glands also release electrolytes (sodium, chloride, calcium, potassium and magnesium), amino acids and trace minerals.
A healthy practice
Sweating for good health has been used in many cultures for centuries – think Roman baths, Finnish saunas or Native American sweat lodges. More recently, there has been an increase in the popularity and availability of saunas, both traditional wood or electric, as well as infrared ones.
Sweat is good for your circulatory system and endothelium (the lining of your blood vessels), improving the oxygenation of the blood to the tissues and removing carbon dioxide and waste products. This includes the lactic acid build-up from exercise, which can reduce soreness and speed up the recovery process.
Working up a sweat is gaining popularity for another big health benefit as well: detox. We now live in a world that is full of industrial pollutants, including phthalates, PCBs, heavy metals and BPA. Sweat is the process of working detoxification pathways in the skin to force the body to eliminate these toxins as well as unwanted bacteria.
Incorporate sweating into your routine
Optimal health is all about finding a balance and incorporating some type of daily sweat session, whether it be from exercise or sauna, may just be the missing piece of the puzzle to improve your health.
Make sure to stay properly hydrated and replace lost electrolytes with plenty of water, herbal teas and hydrating foods like smoothies and soups, otherwise your sweat session may leave you feeling dizzy, depleted and downright flu-like.
It’s time to get sweaty.