Why do we sweat?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

The Crooners perform at the Rip Van Winkle Bourbon Bar
Performing in front of a crowd can definitely get those sweat glands flowing!

Whether you’re playing a really intense sport, walking around on a hot day, or attending a parent-teacher conference, there’s no getting around sweat. So, why exactly does our body react to temperatures and nervousness with watery gushing?

Believe it or not, there are two types of sweating. One is called “thermoregulatory”, and this is when our bodies sweat in order to cool down from a hot day or a hard workout. When the liquid evaporates from our skin, it takes heat with it and leaves our skin a little bit cooler than before. The second is known as “emotional”, and it’s when our body reacts to feelings of stress and excitement by getting ready to run or fight. Even if speaking in front a large group of people isn’t life-threatening, the body senses your nervousness and gets the heart pumping faster just in case.

While some people produce more sweat than others, individuals who suffer from a condition known as “hyperhidrosis” have sweat systems that work in hyperdrive. This leaves them soaked through their clothes for no real reason at all! Then, if they get emotionally upset about their sweat issues, they’ll make it even worse. Next time you’re dripping in sweat after P.E., be thankful it’s only for a moment.

Featured image courtesy of Ryan Hyde on Flickr. Image of sweating musicians courtesy of Jazz Guy on Flickr.