Do I Need To Sweat During a Workout To Lose Weight?


question-icon-newI want to know if I actually need to break a sweat during my cardio workouts in order to burn fat and lose weight. Most of the time, my workouts consist of very low intensity cardio exercises like walking and I don’t really sweat that much at all. Is this high enough intensity for me to drop the pounds or do I need to kick it up a notch and start sweating?

answer-icon-newAnswering this question really depends on your current health condition. For some people, especially those with health concerns, a simple walk around their neighborhood is great exercise. For a generally healthy individual with no health concerns, however, we can place more demand on the body. There is a difference between simple exercise and a cardio workout. Simple exercise is any activity that enhances or maintains one’s physical well-being. A cardio workout however, is designed to strengthen and improve the efficiency of the cardiovascular system. In order to so, we must place sufficient demand on the body to encourage the body to strengthen the cardiovascular system. It is important to understand that the human body is an adaptive organism. In other words, it will only do what is asked of it. So if our goal is improved cardiovascular fitness, we must make it work hard enough to create the need for it to adapt. This work creates a host of physiological responses from the body in order to accommodate this energy output. One of the first of these responses is sweating.

running-in-placeSweating is your body’s way of regulating its temperature. As we exercise, we create a sort of internal combustion that increases our body’s core temperature. In order to maintain equilibrium, the body releases this excess heat through the skin by sweating. The rate at which sweat is released depends on the workload and the individual. Some people simply sweat easier than others. So is it necessary to sweat when you exercise, no, but if you are looking for a good cardiovascular workout it is not only inevitable but a natural and healthy process.

A good rule of thumb is that when you’re doing cardio, you should start sweating within the first 10 minutes of exercising or you’re probably not working hard enough. Increase the intensity to a level where you break a good sweat and keep it there for the duration of the workout. You can also use HIIT cardio workouts (High Intensity Interval Training) for a very explosive workout where you train at super high intensity for a short period of time (30-60 seconds) and then you rest for a set period of time (30-60 seconds) before starting again. The great thing about HIIT cardio is that you can get a very high calorie burning workout finished in a matter of only 15-20 minutes which makes it a great choice for people who have very busy schedules with limited time for exercise.

If you like walking, then a great option is to walk for 5 minutes and then jog for 5 minutes. During your jog, you should start to sweat and then you can cool down by walking. Do this for 1 week and then increase the time to a 10 minute jog and keep the walk to 5 minutes. Try to build up to 15-20 minutes per jogging session and you will start burning serious calories! You can also add variation by walking with some light hand weights or walking up hills or on an incline using the treadmill. As you become stronger and more comfortable with the process of sweating, your workouts can be increased in intensity and duration thereby lengthening the amount of time you are burning more calories. The key is to be committed and patient because it truly is a lifelong commitment. And there is no greater commitment worth the effort than your health. Good luck and stay with it!

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    I find exercising in the hills works well for me. If I am going uphill I like to run, no matter how slowly, and downhill I walk, recover and enjoy the scenery. Twice a week for forty minutes works well without straining my back.

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    Although the response to the question seems to contain great information about exercise, I don’t feel that it answered the question at all. The question asked if a person needed to sweat in order to burn fat and lose weight. The answer discussed the definition of sweating as well as the intensity levels of exercise in order to get a great workout but talks nothing about burning fat and weight loss.

    I know next to nothing about the body’s process during exercise, but from things I’ve read, I understand that there is a “fat burning zone” when you exercise, that is 65% of you max heart rate. For me, that is a low/comfortable level workout which results in a low amount of sweat. But my understanding is, regardless of whether you sweat or not, so long as you are within that “fat burning zone” when working out, you are indeed making fat disappear from your body, and thus dropping that fat weight. As for actually losing weight (as per your scale) this depends on whether or not you are gaining weight in other ways, such as gaining the fat back from not eating sensibly, or gaining muscle from weight training.

    Again, I don’t know much, just a few tidbits of info here and there from what I’ve read, but it would be nice if an expert would answer the original question again while focusing on the core meaning of the question.

    • ShapeFit

      Hi Nelson – Thanks for your feedback. The answer to the specific question in this article is you don’t actually need to perspire (sweat) during a workout in order to lose weight. An example would be a person who is running at a high intensity outside in very cold weather. Even though his core body temperature is not elevated enough in order to sweat, his heart rate is still increased significantly which results in burning calories and the person will lose weight (considering their overall calorie intake is not in excess of their daily requirements).

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