Hong Kong is a hot and humid city, which means that any time you go outside – even if you aren’t moving around – you’re probably going to start sweating within minutes. This can seem like a pain, but all that sweating is doing us good. While the main reason we sweat is to cool down our bodies when we’re hot, there are plenty of other perks to perspiring.
According to medical website Science-Based Medicine, sweating can help rid the body of heavy metals and chemicals. In a city like Hong Kong, where air pollution is such a severe problem, metals like mercury and lead can find their way into our bodies. So, too, can substances like BPA – a chemical found in plastics. Although your body is already well-equipped to rid itself of these toxins – that’s what your liver and kidney are for – you can give it an extra helping hand by getting your sweat on.
According to health website Medical Daily, sweating opens up the pores in our skin, bringing dead skin cells and bacteria to the surface where they can be washed away. This means you are less likely to have pimples. Sweat also encourages your skin to replace dead skin cells with new ones, giving your skin a much healthier look.
Working up a sweat through exercise releases endorphins, hormones which make you happier. Exercise also helps your body to break down the hormone cortisol – also known as the stress hormone – making you feel more relaxed overall.
Sweat prevents colds and other infections because it contains dermcidin – a protein that helps fight infections and germs – according to the science journal Nature. In addition, several studies have shown that sweating improves blood circulation and flow by widening blood vessels. This reduces the risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack when you’re older.
The Medical Daily site also claims that sweating can help fight dangerous viruses, bacteria, and fungi, and also prevent kidney stones from developing.
How should you break a sweat?
In Hong Kong, it’s easy to break a sweat by simply going outside, but you’ll break an even better one by exercising, regardless of whether you’re indoors or outdoors.
But when you don’t really feel like exercising, sitting in a sauna is one of the best ways to get a good sweat going. Just make sure you don’t stay in there for too long. If you’re not used to using the sauna frequently, keep your sessions under 20 minutes.
Last but not least, as beneficial as sweating is for your body, it is also dehydrating. So make sure you drink plenty of water to replenish all the liquid you lose.
So now you know: sweating may not make you smell good, but it will make you look and feel good in the long run.