You may have heard the saying that ‘horses sweat, men perspire & ladies glow’? In short, it’s sexist twaddle from the Victorian era, quickly dispelled by a short trip to any gym or hot yoga studio anywhere. Yes, we all sweat, but are there physiological differences between how the different sexes lose water to cool down?
When it comes to heat stress, the bigger you are, the more you’ll sweat.
A study published by The Physiological Society looked at two trials, where participants of both sexes were asked to perform light exercise, then a second, more strenuous activity at 28℃ & 36% humidity, as this is the common point when our body’s cooling mechanisms tend to kick in.
The results showed this bodily function was gender independent, but men sweat more due to their typically larger size or shape. Simply, if you inhabit a taller or heavier frame, you’re going to produce more sweat.
One study showed that men need to work less to start sweating.
Ever noticed that your male friend, team mate or co-worker works up more of a sweat during the same activity? A study published by Science Daily, showed that women have to work harder than men in order to get the juices flowing. The research, undertaken by Japanese scientists, at Osaka International University & Kobe University, asked four sets of participants to cycle continuously for an hour with increasing intensity intervals. These four groups were split into trained men & women - who exercise regularly & untrained men & women who do not exercise regularly. The fit men sweated the most, more than the fit women, whilst the untrained men needed less activity to get sweaty. The least fit women performed the worst, requiring a higher core body temperature to start sweating. The takeaway? This study suggests it’s more important for women to stay hydrated during exercise & to be mindful of outdoor workouts in hot weather, depending on your fitness level. The good news is that the core temperature to activate sweating gets lower as you get fitter.
Excessive sweating affects both sexes equally
Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, is a condition that occurs equally in men & women. However, this study of 15 women showed that they were more likely to seek out treatment for the condition than men, based on the perception that “excessive sweating is not perceived as a feminine thing.”While this study found that the condition also negatively impacts on men’s mental health.