A common question among swimmers is, “Do you sweat when you swim?” The answer may surprise you. Yes, you do sweat when you swim!
In this article, we will explore the science behind sweating, how much swimmers sweat, and the factors that can impact how much you sweat while swimming. Whether you’re a pool swimmer or an open-water swimmer, this article will give you a better understanding of sweating while you swim!
Table of Contents
The science behind sweating
Sweating is the body’s natural cooling mechanism. It helps regulate body temperature when you’re hot or under physical stress.
When you swim, your body temperature increases due to physical activity and exposure to warm water, which stimulates your sweat glands to produce sweat and cool you down.
So, even though you may not feel it, your body is sweating and cooling while you swim.
Swimming and sweat
At this time, sweat loss through swimming is less studied than other endurance sports such as cycling and running.
However, a research study was done in 2010 that showed while swimmers sweat more than non-athletes, they sweat much less than runners. The study found that swimmers sweat an average of 0.9 liters per hour, while runners sweat 1.5 liters per hour. (1)
Studies surrounding sweat rates for athletes, specifically swimmers, are highly variable due to the many factors that can impact sweat rates and the many methods used to calculate sweat rates.
While swimmers seem to sweat less than other athletes, they still sweat! Research supports that the average sweat rate for an athlete can vary from 0.5-2.5 liters per hour. (2)
To learn more about your sweat rate, try our Sweat Rate Calculator.
Other factors to consider
Several factors can impact a swimmer’s sweat rate:
- The temperature of the pool and the surrounding humidity, the warmer the pool the more you sweat. (3)
- The intensity and duration of your swim! The harder and longer you swim the more heat that your body generates.
- Your genetics, age, gender, and fitness levels impact your sweat rate! Contrary to what some may have heard, research has shown that well-trained athletes have a more efficient temperature regulation system and can maintain body temperature with less sweat! (4)
Yes, swimmers, you do sweat while you swim!
Sweating, even when you can’t feel it, is what keeps your internal body temperature regulated.
Make sure that you are drinking enough to counter fluids lost via sweat during exercise to prevent dehydration. Learn more by reading our Ultimate Hydration Guide For Swimmers.
By understanding the science behind sweating while swimming and the factors that impact sweat rate, swimmers can optimize their performance and train safely in the water!
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Katie Schimmelpfenning RD, LD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, USA Swim Coach, and former Division 1 swimmer. She helps competitive swimmers fuel and train to optimize performance, recover faster, and prevent injury! She is passionate about spreading evidence-based nutrtion tips to help swimmers across the globe.