Whenever I work out, I notice that my body heat seems to go up and I begin sweating a lot. Is this normal, and is there any way I can prevent my body from heating up too much during exercise?
Our Short Answer
Yes, it’s absolutely normal for you to heat up when exercising. It’s your body’s way of regulating your core temperature, preventing you from overheating! Your muscles heat up as they expend energy during exertion. When this happens, your skin begins to sweat, causing your body to cool down. The spike in your body heat also alerts your brain to ensure your body remains at the normal core temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (or 37 degrees Celsius).
Our Long Answer
When you exercise, your muscles convert stored energy into heat energy, causing your body to warm up. As your body heats up further, your brain’s thermostat, the hypothalamus, ensures you remain close to the normal core temperature—98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37 degrees Celsius. To keep within the normal temperature range, your skin will start to sweat to release heat and cool your body down.
As your body lowers its temperature, however, you don’t experience immediate results. According to Dr. Ollie Jay, founder of the Thermal Ergonomics Laboratory at the University of Ottawa, it takes around 30 to 45 minutes of exercise before our bodies can get rid of the elevated temperature.
This means it’ll take nearly an hour for your body to prevent itself from overheating. This is also why you’ll usually continue sweating for a couple more minutes even after you’ve finished your workout.
Post-exercise cool-down rate depends on your body size as well. Bodies with higher surface area to mass ratio are more likely to cool down quicker, making them feel colder compared to bodies with smaller surface area to mass ratios.
It’s all good though—regular exercise may raise heat, but it has endless benefits. Exercising regularly improves your blood circulation and lowers crucial digits like your blood pressure, cholesterol, and risk for most diseases. Depending on your health goals and how you train, it can also help you achieve your ideal weight. Know something else? Ample daily exercise can also help your body relax, so you can get better sleep quality.
So when you feel yourself getting all hot and sweaty during your next workout, don’t worry—your sweat will eventually cool you down. Just don’t forget to drink water to prevent dehydration when this happens!