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Does Sweating Burn Calories? The Truth About Sweat
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Does Sweating Burn Calories? The Truth About Sweat

HR_author_photo_Thalia
Written by Thalia Oosthuizen | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on October 18, 2022
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4 min

Can sweating lead to the loss of a few pounds? Our doctor explains.

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After a good workout, you’re probably covered in sweat. You’ve also probably been told more than once that sweating is a good sign – sweat off the fat, right? This phenomenon has been linked to better health so much so that it’s hard to determine what’s true and what’s not.

Our experts have all of the information you need on sweat and whether or not sweating burns calories.

Does Sweating Burn Calories?

Sweating by itself does not burn calories. However, when you’re working out, sweating can be an indication of intense exercise and calorie expenditure. And while sweating can help you lose a little bit of water weight, you’ll regain that weight once you drink water again.

Is Sweating Good for You?

Our bodies are designed to sweat. Sweating is a natural process that does a lot of things for our bodies from a physiological point of view. Sweating is for regulating temperature and making sure our bodies don’t overheat when it’s hot outside or when we work out.

Sweating is a tool our body uses to let us know the activity that we’re doing is either healthy or dangerous, and it’s important to know the difference. Exercise to the point of sweating lets us know that we’re working out cardiovascular health.

Meanwhile, spending time outside in extreme heat means that when we sweat, our bodies are telling us that it’s trying to cool down and keep us safe. This is a time when you want to listen to your body and get out of the heat. 

How Many Calories Does Sweating Burn?

While sweating itself doesn’t burn calories, there are plenty of intense exercises that cause you to sweat more, which can be an indicator that you’re burning calories.

For example, running is a great way to work up a sweat. In general, a mile-long run can burn about 100 calories. When you work up a sweat, your body is telling you that you’ve entered into the fat-burning stage of your cardio workout.

Does Sweating Help You Lose Weight?

While sweating itself can only get rid of water weight, more sweating during physical activity does often indicate that you’re burning calories. However, sweating by itself is not a sign of burning fat or weight loss.

If anything, sweating is an indicator of your body’s internal temperature. This is why you sweat when you have a fever or sit in a sauna. Sweating helps lower your body temperature to make sure that you’re not subjected to heat stress or extreme exhaustion.

Do You Have to Sweat to Lose Weight?

No! While sweating does give us an indication that we’ve entered into a fat-burning stage of our cardiovascular workouts, sweating is not needed to lose weight. The only thing you need to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in to create a calorie deficit.

Calorie burn is the main indicator of weight loss. Plus, people sweat differently for all kinds of reasons. Some people sweat after a brisk walk around the neighborhood, while others don’t break a sweat even after a 2-mile run.

While it’s always advised to add a workout routine to your weight loss journey, you can absolutely reach your goals just by eating healthy and doing a daily walk or light exercise outdoors.

Does Sweating Burn Fat?

Just as with calorie burn, a sweaty workout does nothing in and of itself for burning fat. 

However, the presence of sweat often lets us know that we’re burning calories through exercise, which, in turn, indicates burning fat.

Why Do I Sweat So Much When I Work Out?

The more energy you expend and the more effort you put into your workout, the higher your body temperature will be. As your body temperature rises, your body needs a mechanism to help the cooling process and to keep you from overheating.

This is why you tend to start sweating buckets after you work out. Some people sweat more than others when it comes to working out. This could be due to health conditions, genetics, or a number of other factors.

If you sweat a lot during exercise, especially when you’re exercising outdoors, make sure to keep yourself hydrated. Sweating means that you’re losing water, which is why you tend to lose a little bit of weight after a heavy sweat session.

However, dehydration is a real issue when it comes to sweating. Drink more water than you think you need.

If you struggle to cool down even after you’ve finished working out, this could be an indicator of a different issue that needs medical supervision.

A Word From Our RD

It makes sense that a lot of the tales surrounding sweat and weight loss have been intertwined since sweating is often an indicator of when we burn fat and expend calories. However, it’s simply not true that sweating in-and-of-itself burns calories.

Your fitness level will be a major indicator of how much you sweat. For example, someone with a higher fitness level can do the same activity as someone with a lower fitness level and not even break a sweat.

If you’re looking to meet your weight loss goals, it’s important to track your caloric input vs. caloric output through fitness and a good diet. This is a better indicator of losing weight than your sweat glands are!

Conclusion

So, does sweating burn calories? While many people believe that sweating burns calories, this isn’t exactly true. Instead, sweating is an indicator that your internal temperature has begun to rise.

Since our temperatures rise during physical activities, sweating can be a good indicator of whether or not we’re burning calories through exercise. However, sweating by itself does not cause fat loss or calorie burn.

While losing water weight may lose you a few pounds, the best way to measure lost weight is a regular exercise routine and a good diet. If you don’t know which diet to pick, we recommend checking the keto diet for the best weight loss results

HR_author_photo_Thalia
Written by
Thalia has always wanted to be a writer, starting her first local newspaper at the age of 11. She also has enjoyed a passion for health and fitness since a young age, playing many sports through her schooling career, and still enjoys biking, running, and swimming today. She studied English Language at University for 3 years, developing a passion for spelling, grammar, and research. She now has over 10 years of experience writing, proofreading, and editing, and has paired this with her love for health and fitness by writing health content.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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