Women's health * Men's health * Healthy living

Men perspire and women glow, science confirms

Men perspire and women glow, science confirms Men 'more efficient sweaters'

Science can now back up what many a mother once said; men perspire and women glow.

Researchers have found that women have to work much harder than men before breaking into a sweat.

Although this may seem like a good thing as far as women are concerned, the process of sweating lowers the body's temperature, allowing it to work harder or longer.

A study by Japanese scientists at Osaka International and Kobe Universities looked at how men and women's sweat response differs during exercise.

Scientist Yoshimitsu Inoue said: "It appears that women are at a disadvantage when they need to sweat a lot during exercise, especially in hot conditions."

In the study, 20 women and 17 men of a variety of fitness levels were required to cycle continuously for an hour in a room at 30C, and the amount of perspiration leaving their bodies was monitored.

The results showed that men are more efficient at sweating than women, and fit men the most efficient of all.

Women needed a much higher body temperature than men to begin sweating. Less fit women had the worst sweat response of all, requiring a higher body temperature or exercise intensity to start sweating.

The researchers said the findings help shed light on why men and women cope differently with extremes in temperature, e.g. during heatwaves.

Inoue also said there may be an evolutionary reason why men and women sweat differently.

As women generally have less body fluid than men, they are more prone to dehydration. Women may have evolved a lower sweat loss to help retain moisture, allowing them to survive in a hot environment.

On the other hand, the higher sweat response in men allows them to work harder and for longer amounts of time.

Meanwhile, Inoue says women should take greater care in hot weather conditions: "Both men and women can acclimate themselves better to heat if they exercise regularly before a heat wave comes."

The findings are published in the journal Experimental Physiology.

This article was published on Fri 8 October 2010

Image © Laurin Rinder - Fotolia.com

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