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Do You Burn More Calories When You Sweat More?

From the Fit Community: Does More Sweat Equal a Better Workout?

Is your workout better the sweatier it gets? FitSugar reader livingthin asks an expert and posted the answer in our 10 Pounds DOWN! community group.

Q: "Is how much a person sweats during a workout a good indicator as to how hard a person works?" – RI Jones

A: Great question RI! Since our workouts are often sweat filled sessions, we were anxious to know the answer to this one too. We asked Michele Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise science at Auburn University in Alabama to tackle this question. This was her response:


"The reason we sweat is to control our body's temperature. When liquid hits our skin (from the inside) and then evaporates, the evaporation is cooling. However, this is not the most accurate indicator of how intensely you are working out or how many calories you are expending. In fact, you actually burn more calories running outdoors in the cold versus summer in the heat."

Read more on what Dr. Olson has to say about calorie-burning after the break!

"How? To warm our bodies, our muscles will perform extra small and rapid contractions that are usually not felt, but anytime your muscles contract more, they use extra calories. Heat is released every time a calorie is burned — and this is what helps keep the body's core temperature up and stable. Sometimes the twitching is very noticeable and we call it shivering. But, the process of sweating does not require active calorie burning.

So, don't rely on sweat as a sole gauge of exercise intensity. A combination of heart rate and perceived effort are much better indicators of how hard you are working and how much energy you are expending."

Do you have any fitness-related tips or questions? Join the 10 Pounds DOWN! community group for feedback, advice, and encouragement!

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Jenavive018 Jenavive018 5 years
I like sweating while working out, it clears my pores and I feel more refreshed/cool during the fact. My problem is I sweat when I'm NOT working out (always have). My face almost always sweats, and I'm almost always warm. I can rarely wear my hear down because I get too hot and sweat into it ><
2muchtv 2muchtv 6 years
The idea behind hot yoga is that you can get a deeper stretch in a warm room than you can at a cold room. I read somewhere that the creator got the idea in Japan in the winter, when he noticed his clients were pretty cold. He got space heaters and they were able to do the poses much better. He took the idea and ran with it. I don't know your source for the calories, perhaps one counts the afterburn and the other doesn't? Or someone making up numbers to make it look better. Personally, I prefer to sweat because it clears out my pores and forces me to shower immediately, instead of putting it off. However, I think we all knew this initially. Think of high school, when you had to run a mile in 1st period vs 6th period. Same effort, but you're sweating more in 6th. For me, RPE pushes me more than my heart rate monitor. With a monitor, I'm being told to consistently slow down, while I feel like I can keep going at that pace for an hour.
lighthouselady lighthouselady 6 years
I really figured that was the answer, but I get so tired of reading posts (at various forums) that such and such DVD doesn't give a good enough workout because they didn't sweat. So I thought maybe I was wrong and so I asked. Glad to know I was right, otherwise I'd be getting workouts just slowly walking in our living room in the summer when it's over 100 with high humidity. In fact, sometimes, just sitting in there I still sweat.
TriciaR TriciaR 6 years
Always knew this, but a good sweat feels great and is motivating to work harder!
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