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I don’t like exercising because I sweat too much.

Don’t like exercising because you get all hot and sweaty?

Do you feel embarrassed when you start to sweat and the sweat starts to show through your clothing?

Don’t worry you are not alone and its a common sentiment I hear particularly from overweight or de-conditioned people who are trying to make a start with regular exercise. Main stream gyms pray on this fear somewhat boasting of “air conditioned comfort” while you are working out. And popular fitness media and clothing companies display images of people working out with not a bead of sweat appearing anywhere on their body.

I think one of the core concerns here is that people are afraid being sweaty makes them look unfit. They fear that everyone will be looking at them because they are all sweaty. And of course being sweaty is not exactly the most comfortable experience in the world.

I think its crucially important to point out that sweating is a normal physiological phenomenon and the fitter you get the faster sweat appears. Yes, thats right.

As you get fitter that sweat is going to appear faster – probably as soon as you start warming up, and there will probably be more of it too.

One of the bodies adaptations to exercise is to increase the speed at which sweat starts to appear. Why? Because it is a natural cooling mechanism for the body and as you get fitter the body gets better at getting ready for exercise by sweating earlier on in the workout session. So it is a false hope to think that as you get fitter you will sweat less, or that you’ll be able to exercise for longer before sweat starts to appear. Thats not how the body works. As you get fitter you will sweat more – airconditioner or not!

If you still don’t like the thought of getting sweaty, what else can you do to mitigate the perceived negative effects on your comfort and appearance? A simple one is to choose clothing in colours that are less likely to show the sweat patches – black is always a popular option for this reason. Choose fast drying fabrics that don’t cling to you when they get sweaty. And if you have long hair, invest in some bobby pins and/or a hair band and pin/fasten it down or if you are exercising outside wear a hat or cap. A good deodorant is always appreciated by others around you and take a towel with you to mop up some of the sweat.

So sweat is just sweat and shouldn’t hold you back from getting started on an exercise programme. Understand it, dress appropriately for it and it will be your friend, just like its intended to be.

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