Women sweat far less than men
has shown that men are much more efficient at sweating than women.
The study by Japanese scientists at Osaka International University and Kobe University has shown that women have to work harder than men in order to start sweating, while men are more effective sweaters during exercise, according to new research
The researchers looked at differences between men and women’s sweating response to changes in exercise intensity.
They asked four groups of subjects (trained and untrained females, trained and untrained males) to cycle continuously for an hour in a controlled climate with increasing intensity intervals.
The results showed that men are more efficient at sweating. While exercise training improves sweating in both sexes, the degree of improvement is greater in men, with the difference becoming even more pronounced as the level of exercise intensity increases.
The untrained females had the worst sweating response of all requiring a higher body temperature than the other groups (or work intensity) to begin sweating. In other words, women need to get hotter than men before they get sweaty.
“It appears that women are at a disadvantage when they need to sweat a lot during exercise, especially in hot conditions,” the study``s coordinator Yoshimitsu Inoue said.
Previous studies have demonstrated that men have a higher sweat output than women, in part because testosterone is believed to enhance the sweating response.
Physical training is known to decrease the body’s core temperature threshold for the activation of the sweating response, which works to the athlete’s advantage and allows them to perform longer.
This is the first study, however, to investigate the sex differences in the effects of physical training on the sweating response during exercise.
The findings have implications for exercise and heat tolerance in humans, including shedding light on why the sexes cope differently with extremes of temperature like heat waves.
Inoue believes there may be an evolutionary reason why men and women have evolved to sweat differently.
“Women generally have less body fluid than men and may become dehydrated more easily. Therefore the lower sweat loss in women may be an adaptation strategy that attaches importance to survival in a hot environment, while the higher sweat rate in men may be a strategy for greater efficiency of action or labour,” he said.
The study has been published in the journal Experimental Physiology.