Many people equate effective workouts to the amount of sweat they produce. While it’s true that exerting effort can make you sweat, it doesn’t always mean that more equates to better. What’s more, it doesn’t always help speed up your weight loss journey. In fact, we previously discussed the dangers of drenching yourself in sweat here on Planet Supplement, which can potentially include heat exhaustion and lowering the quality of your exercise.
Despite this, many people continue to flock to the gym in jumpers and sweatshirts. It’s definitely much different than the usual tank tops and sports bras, but is it more than just a trend? Or is there an actual science behind wearing sweaters when you workout?
It actually all boils down to thermodynamics. In a hot environment, whether you’re under the heat of the scorching sun or clad in a sweatshirt, your body exerts effort to maintain a steady body temperature and keep you cool. During exercise, you end up losing much of the energy manufactured by your muscles. So the more your muscles work, the hotter they become and the more your body is kicked into overdrive.
This is when your cardiovascular system starts to increase blood flow to your skin, which is what causes sweat to form. Now, as your heart rate increases, LiveStrong states that your energy demand and the calories you burn in response are also increased. But the sweat you produce isn’t exactly indicative of that and can vary from person to person, depending on one’s ability. Other people get drenched when they so much as eat spicy food, while others can run a full marathon without even breaking a sweat.
Is warm or cold weather better for exercise?
Because your body needs to work harder to stay cool, you burn a few extra calories when you exercise in the heat. Not only does your heart need to pump more blood to deliver oxygen to your muscles, but it also has to pump hot blood from your heated muscles to your skin in order to allow heat to dissipate. This is the opposite to exercising in the cold, because your heart only needs to pump blood to your muscles and not as much to your skin. Interestingly, Insider notes how even just lying in a hot bath can burn as many calories as a 30-minute walk.
What should you wear?
Following this logic, wearing sweaters to the gym doesn’t really make a dramatic difference to your weight loss. At the end of the day, Woman Within emphasizes comfort and proper sizing above everything. For some people, this might be a sweater, as long as it allows you to move freely and perform at your best. This is especially necessary for certain exercises that are harder to do if you aren’t wearing the right fit. You don’t want your shirt to keep riding up in the middle of yoga or spin class. Fabric also plays a huge role, which explains why brands have started formulating their own activewear technologies. These involve different kinds of textiles that are highly breathable and can adjust to your movement, instead of the other way around.