Deodorants, antiperspirants, body sprays — people go through considerable effort to hide the fact that they sweat.Sweating may not be everyone’s favorite thing to do, if anything, most people don’t like to sweat, don’t like to smell from sweating and I would presume this is not a particularly favorite subject of conversation. But, if we didn’t sweat, our health would be harmed in a serious way.
People ask me all the time if the amount you sweat when exercising is in anyway a measure of workout intensity. This is possible but it might be tied in more to how many sweat glands you are born with as opposed to anything else. We are born with between two million to four million sweat glands. Interestingly, women are usually born with more sweat glands than men, but men’s sweat glands are far more active, hence a man’s predisposition to sweating more.
One of the unfortunate outcomes of sweating is, of course, a bad odor. Sweat is odorless, so where is the bad smell from? The bad smell is a result of bacteria already on the skin that feed off the perspiration. What you smell is the products related to bacteria breakdown of keratin protein on the surface of your skin. While body odor is usually associated with the armpits, bacteria can also produce odor in the groin, anus area, upper thighs, and feet, among other places. Thoroughly washing your skin with a wet washcloth and soap — especially those areas prone to sweating — can help prevent body odor.
Remember that smelly feet can also cause smelly shoes. Treating your shoes with an over-the-counter deodorizer can help. Also, wear thick, absorbent socks if you can.
If you want to be “odor-free” consider the following tips from WebMd:
- Apply an antiperspirant at bedtime.
- Keep your underarms dry. Bacteria have a hard time breeding in dry areas of the body.
- If sweat from working out is your No. 1 cause of body odor, wash your workout clothes often. Sweaty gym clothes are a bacteria-breeding ground.
- Change your diet. Sometimes, fatty foods, oils, or strong-smelling foods such as garlic, curry, and onions, can seep through your pores and cause body odor (always see a doctor or dietician before making drastic dietary changes).
- For Ladies shaving your underarm regularly will help prevent the accumulation of bacteria and can reduce sweat and odor.
Sweating is the natural way your body keeps cool and it keeps you healthy. It can be an unofficial sign of making sure your exercise is intense enough. It “adds hours to your day, days to your year, and years to your life.”