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Gender Differences in Sweat Production

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The body’s ability to sweat is a necessary physiological function that regulates body temperature. But a study published recently in Experimental Physiology (2010; 95 [10], 1026–32) found that while men tend to have a highly efficient sweat response, women do not. The researchers, from the Laboratory for Human Performance Research at Osaka International University in Japan, separated 37 people into four groups: trained females, untrained females, trained males and untrained males. The groups were then instructed to cycle for 1 hour, completing intervals of increasing intensity, in a climate-controlled environment. While they were cycling, their sweat response was measured at five sites: forehead, chest, back, forearm and thigh.

At study completion, the scientists found that sweat response was greater among males than among females. Also, the sweat response was more pronounced in the trained group than in the untrained group. The study authors concluded that “training improved the sweating response, and a sex difference was observed in the degree of improvement in the sweating response due to physical training. . . . A sex difference was observed in the control of sweating rate to an increase in exercise intensity, i.e., the maximal activated sweat gland responses of untrained females required a higher body temperature or work intensity than other groups.”

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor, and IDEA's director of event programming.

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