I was talking to my trainer the other day at Cult Gym, a popular fitness center in Lokhandwala, Andheri West, Mumbai, India. He said that the more we sweat the more calories we burn. I countered by saying that if that were the case why workout at all. One can just sit in the sun and let it do the rest (in fact, a sauna would be a much more trendy option these days.)
Let’s clear a few myths about sweating today and the precise objective it serves in the physiological process of the human body. First things first.

Why does the body produce sweat?

Biologically, sweating is a perfectly natural as well as a healthy activity which serves the main purpose of keeping the body cool when ever there is a rise in temperatures. You would assume that this is the end of the story.
However, the fact is that there are a lot people (in fact, a vast majority of them, particularly in a region like ours where health education is low) who do not understand this physiological process about sweating, including why human beings sweat or why some people sweat more than others and what sweat can (or cannot) do for us. Let’s find out more about this subject and clear things up and try to bust some of the most common myths that exist around sweat.

Sweating does not burn any fat!

This has to be the biggest of them all. A lot of us tend to sweat substantially during workouts (though I don’t that much). Thus, it is a common fallacy to assume that sweating is somehow involved in the process of fat burning. What we often fail to understand is that sweat is just one way that your body uses to control its internal temperature. For example, when things grow hot (for instance, on a particularly hot day or during an intense phase of hard workout), the body releases water (together with a small amount of trace minerals) through the sweat glands in the skin. This sweat then helps you cool off when it evaporates into the atmosphere from your skin.

Having said that, it can be assumed that sweating can be considered as an indirect indication that you are working out really hard. So, sweating profusely during an intense workout may well signal that you are working hard to burn lots of calories, including the calories from fat. Having said that it must be pointed out that sweating and fat burning on the other hand are not directly related at all. YOU CAN SWEAT AS MUCH AS YOU WANT WITHOUT BURNING ANY CALORIES!!

“There isn’t any fat which gets burned just due to the act of sweating,” says Dr. Shahwar Kazmi, a doctor and medical practitioner in Mumbai, debunking this very popular myth.

Working out in cold conditions would burn more calories, says science

It is a fallacy to think that a person just standing in hot conditions (or even working out with low intensity) is dispensing lots of calories. In fact, a person working out in very cold conditions would be spending more calories than another who is working out in hot and humid conditions. This is because the guy in the cold climate is having to work his body to maintain his body temperature which actually involves burning of calories (one reason why we tend to feel more hungry during winters).

In conclusion: Calorie deficit is what burns calories

Whether you like it or not, the fact is that we all sweat. Therefore, while on the one hand you may feel that you are more than a couple of pounds lighter after a steaming hot yoga class or a long run in the sun, there is no need to get excited. Because the weight loss that has happened is just water. Once you replenish your water reserves in the body and rehydrate, you would put that weight back on. So, next time don’t get excited when you sweat A LOT!

About Muqbil Ahmar

Editor-in-Chief and Founder at greenubuntu.com. I am an environmentalist, technology evangelist, fitness expert, actor, writer and editor. With more than 15 years in media, I want to be the catalyst for making the world green and rid it of disasters like global warming, climate change, green house effect, pollution, environment degradation, etc. I want to reduce the carbon footprint of humanity for a sustainable development model. I am the author of books such as Artificial Intelligence Made Simple: Learn How AI Is Going to Change Your Life Forever; JNU Days, etc. They are available on Amazon.in. My articles have been published on various mainline media platforms such as FirstPost, Forbes, TechStory, Greenpeace, The Hindu, Business World, DailyO, Inc. 42, CXO Today, Sify. Experfy, BBN Times.Com, etc. I love to write on tech, economy, films, arts and culture, and other diverse subjects. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.