Scientists have put men and women to the sweat test, and men not only sweat more but better than women. The culprit: researchers chalk it up to testosterone.
In a new study published in the October issue of Experimental Physiology, researchers measured the rate at which both men and women worked up a sweat while biking for an hour under controlled conditions. Results showed that physically fit men generate the best sweat, while men in general appeared to benefit more from physical training than women. The higher the activity intensity, the more pronounced the difference between men and women.
The fitter you are, the lower your core body temperature needs to be in order to break a sweat. But fit men break a sweat faster than fit women; inactive men also sweat better than inactive women. Since sweating cools the body and keeps it from overheating, this allows men to perform longer according to the study.
"It appears that women are at a disadvantage when they need to sweat a lot during exercise, especially in hot conditions," said Yoshimitsu Inoue, the study's coordinator and a researcher at Osaka International University in Japan, in an interview with science news website LiveScience.
In the study, 37 subjects cycled for an hour at increasing intensities, with researchers measuring temperature, sweat rate, and activated sweat glands on the forehead, thigh, and other areas. Active subjects were endurance sports athletes; inactive subjects had not exercised in years.
Researchers did not measure testosterone levels in the study but suggest it may play a role in their results. Prior research supports the link between increased sweat rates and the hormone.
To access the study: http://ep.physoc.org/content/95/10/1026.abstract
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