Recovery can be listed among the most essential ingredients in the recipe for a successful fitness plan. But in a place where people don’t have much time to think over the small details, this little but valuable ingredient often gets neglected. Most of us fail to acknowledge the importance of all the sweat (and tears) you shed in the gym and the role it places in the process of recovery.
How is perspiration related to recovery after exercise?
This is one of the most common questions I come across. However, only a handful of people know the right answer to this. Therefore, I feel it crucial to answer this question with facts backed up by scientists.
Recovering is a vital part of any exercise, let it be aerobic exercise, weight training, strength training, or even a light jog. Regrettably, most of the people are not aware of the fact that getting an adequate amount of rest is vital after every workout. We aim to perform at a high-level and go to great lengths for training harder, but end up feeling guilty the moment we take a break.
Our bodies are made up of cells which require proper rest and time to recover the worn out tissues. Without any recovery period, the tissues get worn out quickly and our bodies start to weaken. Many athletes and strength trainers don’t get this fact straight and fail to get a proper reply to the answer- how is perspiration related to recovery? Well, fear not my friends, here’s the perfect answer.
Difference between Perspiration and Dehydration
Most of the trainers out there have no idea about the importance of the recovery period after an exercise. Without proper perspiration and recovery, individuals are prone to get dehydrated and can risk themselves to dangerous situations such as getting into a shock or deteriorating their heart healths.
This can be life-threatening, and can even lead to death!
Surely, this is not a common thing and many of us come back home alive after successful training. But what if? Obviously, you shouldn’t be putting yourself at the mercy of luck.
Before you start acknowledging the role of perspiration, it is important to clear your concepts about the differences between perspiration and dehydration.
What Does Dehydration Mean?
Dehydration occurs when your body gets depleted of water. This can be due to multiple causes and can lead to severe electrolyte imbalance.
Most of our body is water. Water constitutes about 55-60% of our body weight and without it, our organs would get impaired and fail to function properly. All of our cells, including muscle cells, red blood cells, and bone cells, require water for proper functioning. Each cell contains about 92% water, so without water, even the cells would stop working optimally.
Drinking water is a must during exercises. Our bodies normally require 8 glasses of water per day. If you live in hot and arid areas, this demand can go much higher. The same happens when you are exercising. As a general rule, every pound lost should be compensated with 16-20 ounces of fluid.
What Are the Causes of Dehydration?
Some of the causes of dehydration are listed below:
- Over sweating
- Frequent urination
- Too much vomiting
- Severe diarrhea
What Does Perspiration Mean?
Perspiration, also known as sweating, is the process in which the pores in your skin start producing a salty liquid called sweat. This occurs as your body gets overheated due to exercise, enhanced metabolism, training or other similar activities.
Our body is programmed to maintain an optimal temperature of 97°F (36.1°C) to 99°F (37.2°C), and perspiration is one of the methods it uses to maintain it. The hypothalamus is the part of our brain that acts as an internal thermostat. As the hypothalamus suspects an increase in body temperature, it activates sweat glands which then starts perspiration. In this way, our body gets cooled down.
How is Perspiration Related to Recovery after Exercise?
Our bodies are programmed to use various ways of fulfilling their oxygen and energy demands. Some of the most important ways include an increase in the heart rate and breathing rate. Increased breathing allows the body to fulfill oxygen demands and increased heart rate allows blood to transport that oxygen to the required areas. Increased levels of oxygen also enable the skin to perspire so that the body can cool down. As the rate of perspiration increases, the rate of fluid and ion loss from our body also increases.
Therefore, it is vital to replenish all the lost ions and water during the recovery phase so as to restore their depleted stores.
What is your Body Doing during Recovery?
Proper perspiration makes sure that your body goes through recovery easily and effectively. Recovery is vital as it’s the only time when your body is adapting to the hassle of exercise. This is the time when real training happens. A brief recovery phase helps the body replenish its stores of lost ions, water, and energy. Moreover, during this duration, the tissues regenerate and recover from damage quickly.
Intense training and other forms of strenuous exercises may induce too much perspiration that can further encourage changes in your body. These changes include tearing of muscles, breakdown of muscle tissues, and excessive water loss. Recovery time ensures that whatever your body has just lost gets replenished and the tissues get repaired at an enhanced rate.
If the body is not provided with enough time to repair, the tissues will start degenerating and more loss will follow. The signs of overtraining can be visible due to insufficient recovery time. These signs and symptoms can include: fatigue, depression, reduced performance, insomnia, headaches, and decreased immunity. Good perspiration makes sure you don’t go this ordeal.
How to Recover According to Perspiration?
The proper way to recover after a strenuous exercise session also depends upon your level of perspiration. The rule is simple: the more you perspire, the more dehydration it causes which means you need to take extra fluids to cover up the deficiencies.
When Perspiration is Low
When you are sweating at a normal level, as is the case during most standard exercise sessions, all you need to cover up for the loss is drink sufficient water. It is also advised to continue eating as you do on a regular basis. These measures are more than enough to replenish everything that you lost during exercise in the form of perspiration.
The homeostatic mechanisms in your body will automatically stimulate you to drink more water and you will be getting enough sodium from your food to restore the depleted mineral stores. And before you know it, everything will be back to normal.
When Perspiration is High
Strenuous forms of exercises often involve profuse sweating. This high level of perspiration is an indicator for you to take immediate steps to replenish your fluid balance.
A high perspiration rate naturally means you need more water and electrolytes to recover from the exercise. In such conditions, it is better to replenish your body with at least 16 oz of water during the first few hours after you finish exercising.
A strong correlation has been established between the level of perspiration and the amount of fluids you require to recover after a workout. A study suggests that you must drink approximately 1.5 times more water than you have lost in the form of sweat during exercise. It is also important to make sure that the fluid you are consuming contains sufficient amount of sodium in it to cover up for any electrolyte imbalances.
The relation between perspiration and recovery have been the subject of a lot of discussions in the scientific community. Some scientists agree that you are more likely to suffer cramps during the night provided you do not provide your body the proper time to recover. As discussed above, the best indicator to cover for the losses and rev up the recovery time is indeed the level and rate of perspiration.
While most of us appreciate the importance of exercise in the maintenance of health, the need for a proper recovery time is often neglected. This recovery phase, in which our body replenishes and re-energizes itself, is greatly determined by perspiration.
The association between perspiration and post-workout recovery is well-established and quite easy to understand. Since perspiration is an indicator of the total fluid loss from the body, it helps determine the exact amount of fluid you need to replace in order to replenish the energy lost during exercise. It is a sign that constantly reminds you to take care of yourself and give your body time to recover after putting it through vigorous physical activity.
So if you are a fitness freak who loves spending time in the gym, keep an eye out for your level of perspiration and allow your body to heal accordingly.