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the long run

the long run

Explainer: Does Wiping Away Sweat Keep You Cool?

4y ago


Watch: Follow: Heat waves have been gripping the U.S., leading overheated people everywhere to dab beads of sweat from their foreheads. Does wiping away sweat actually help you keep cool? Not really. Sweat releases heat by evaporative cooling. As each gram of sweat transitions from liquid to gas phase, it absorbs 2,427 joules of energy from the body and dissipates the heat into the environment. If you wipe away the perspiration before it evaporates, that process gets cut short, and you'll need to sweat more just to achieve the same degree of cooling. Dripping sweat is problematic for anyone who has grown large—no matter how athletic they are. When we put on weight and muscle, we don't add sweat glands. As a result, people with bigger frames have fewer glands on the surface of their skin, so perspiration won't cover their bodies as evenly, and they have to increase their sweat output to compensate. Despite rumors to the contrary, studies have shown that fit and unfit people sweat at similar rates when pedaling stationary bicycles at the same speed. In fact, personal sweating rates seem to vary with heat production, body mass, and body surface area rather than fitness level. Some of our most popular methods of getting cooler are actually poor strategies in the long run. Cranking the air conditioning prevents your body from acclimating to the heat by maximizing sweat rates and reducing the loss of electrolytes during perspiration. Cold drinks may look good in commercials (Gatorade commercial clip?) but they don't actually keep you cool. Hot beverages, on the other hand, help find your full, sweaty potential—a good thing. So, next time you're ordering that iced coffee, make it a regular. .