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If I’m not sweaty, does my workout count?

If I’m not sweaty, does my workout count?

Tuesday, August 31, 2021


You spend an hour in a spin class one day and an hour in yoga class the next. You sweat in one and not the other, so does that mean one’s a better workout? If you run three miles on a hot July evening and sweat profusely, and run the exact three-mile route in January and sweat half as much, was it less of a workout?  

Everyone has a different sweating pattern. Gender, age, fitness level and environment contribute to how much you sweat. Women seem to sweat less and start to sweat at higher temperatures than men. People tend to sweat less as they grow old and cannot take the heat as well as younger people. Our bodies, regardless of age or gender, produce heat and the more your muscles contract, the more heat is produced. If our body didn’t have ways of keeping you cool, we would overheat. 

“When you exercise, focus on how you feel, and stay hydrated. Sweating is the body’s way to cool off, not an indicator of the number of calories burned,” said Stephen Ulrich, M.D., family practice, Perry County Family Practice and Genesis HealthCare System medical director of WellnessWins. “It’s not uncommon for people with larger body masses to sweat more.” 

Heat radiates out of the skin if the air around you is cooler than your body. Think January run. Exercise produces heat, heat produces calorie expenditure, and you produce the same amount of heat whether exercising in a cold environment or a hot one. Just because you don’t sweat as much in a colder environment does not mean your exercise session was less productive. 

There are two key factors that determine an effective calorie burn: duration and intensity. When you're ready to do more, you can build on your routine by adding new physical activities. Increase the distance, time, or difficulty of your favorite activity or do your activities more often. For example, if you walk regularly for exercise, gradually increase the duration of your walk over several days to weeks by walking longer distances. You can increase the intensity by walking more briskly or up hills. 

Don’t stress about your sweat, just keep moving. Regular exercise, of any kind, with a balanced diet is a healthy way to achieve and maintain a healthy body. Talk to your health care provider before you begin an exercise routine.  


Source: Healthguidance.org, American Heart Association 


Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.