Why don’t I sweat when I work out?

YesYou’re in the middle of a hot and super-intensive workout when you suddenly notice: You’re not actually sweating that much. It even looks like everyone else in the room is wiping off excess sweat with a towel, and you wonder why you’re not even sparkling.

Are you just not putting in enough effort? Or is this class too easy for you? possible. But according to Matthew Accetta, MS, CSCS*D, an exercise physiologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery, the most likely culprit is simple: dehydration.

“While the amount of sweat certainly varies from person to person, most of the time when someone no Sweating is because of dehydration,” he said. “The body isn’t full of fluids, so it’s trying to grab whatever it has. “

So if you know you’re usually a sweater, but that’s not the case today, be sure to head to the fountain and fill up your water bottle—and keep drinking plenty of water for 24 hours after your workout. Accetta also recommends developing (or revising) a “hydration plan” before your next meeting: “It’s not unusual to not drink enough water for a day,” Accetta says. “I know I feel guilty about it sometimes, and so can my clients.” But if it becomes a routine, you’ll want to find a way to get rid of it before it causes any serious complications.

If not dehydration, what is?

Of course, not drinking enough alcohol isn’t the only reason you’re sweating less than usual.

Weather is obvious. Because sweat is an important way the body controls its internal temperature, sweat levels tend to rise or fall depending on your workout environment. The cooler the air around you, the less sweat you’ll need—and vice versa. Humidity (or lack thereof) could be another factor, Accetta added. “Higher humidity makes you sweat faster,” he said.

Accetta also points out that people tend to sweat more as they age — starting in adolescence. “As the body ages, there is a greater need to regulate body temperature and restore homeostasis,” he said. “That’s why older people sweat more and kids sweat less.” So if you’re the youngest in your workout class, you’re probably also the driest.

Keep in mind that in rare cases, certain medications or thyroid problems may actually prevent you from sweating as much as possible to maintain your optimal body temperature. If there is a noticeable lack of sweating when you are well hydrated, even in hot weather, make an appointment with your primary care provider to have everything checked.

Do I really need to “sweat”?

In fitness culture, visible sweating can be seen as a badge of honor: proof that you’re pushing yourself really hard, or that you actually made long-term gains in that moment. So, for whatever reason, if you’re not sweating as much as you should, then you may feel like you might have a problem.

Not true, Accetta said. Not only does sweat levels vary widely from individual to individual, “there must be such a thing as excessive sweating, where people who are more hydrated than others have too much water in their bodies, leading to excessive sweating.”

If you know you’re well hydrated — and you’re setting yourself challenging but manageable fitness goals — try not to sweat it out.

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