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What Does it Mean When I Sweat a Lot During Exercise?

by
author image Lynne Sheldon
Lynne Sheldon has over 12 years of dance experience, both in studios and performance groups. She is an avid runner and has studied several types of yoga. Sheldon now works as a freelance writer, editor and book reviewer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and art history from Boston University and recently completed her Master of Fine Arts in writing from Pacific University.
What Does it Mean When I Sweat a Lot During Exercise?
Exercise can trigger excessive sweating. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

You sweat when your body releases salty liquid from your sweat glands, an essential function that helps you stay cool. How many sweat glands you possess will determine how much you sweat, and exercise can increase this amount. If you feel you sweat more than normal, you may have a medical condition like hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. Talk to your health care provider if you are concerned about your perspiration.

Normal Sweating

People are born with 2 to 4 million sweat glands, and while women tend to have more than men, men’s glands are often more active. Exercise raises your body’s internal temperature, causing you to sweat more profusely to keep cool. Being physically active in a warm room or while it is hot outside can make you perspire more as well. Other factors can contribute to excessive sweating, such as drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, certain medications, stress, fever, infections, low blood sugar, thyroid problems and menopause.

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Hyperhidrosis

If you are sweating excessively or uncontrollably, you may have hyperhidrosis. This condition can be localized and occur only on your palms, feet, armpits or face, or you may perspire all over your body. The causes are unknown, but certain activities like exercise can trigger hyperhidrosis. This condition typically appears when you are a child or a teen, and it can either continue throughout your life or get better as you age. While nothing can cure it, you can take steps to make it less unpleasant.

Lifestyle Remedies

To help control excess sweat, shower daily and dry yourself completely when you finish. Apply a talcum powder to your entire body, concentrating especially on the areas where you sweat the most. Throughout the day, but especially when you exercise, wear loose-fitting clothing made of natural fabrics like cotton, which allows your skin to breathe more readily. Put on your antiperspirant both at night and in the morning to increase its efficacy. Also consider asking your physician about making changes to your diet -- caffeinated drinks and spicy foods can make sweating worse.

Considerations

If you experience a sudden increase in the amount you sweat, see a doctor; this could be symptomatic of an underlying medical condition. Also ask him about prescription-strength antiperspirants if you feel that over-the-counter products are not effective. He may prescribe you aluminum chloride to apply at night, but note that this is a strong product that can cause irritation and itching. If it does, wash it off each morning.

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