Friday 5: 5 Fun Facts About Sweating

As you might have noticed, we’re big on hydration here at Nuun. And as you might have noticed, hydration and sweating often go hand in hand. Here are some quick facts about perspiration to peruse while you wait for your favorite Nuun tablet to dissolve.

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1. Humans are the best sweaters.

Every animal has a way to dissipate heat—dogs pant, moths move blood from their heart to their abdomen, elephants stay cool thanks to their hair. Humans and a few other species, most notably horses, use sweating as their main way to stay cool.

Sweating is so integral to being human that some have posited a key role for it in evolution. Our ability to stay cool via sweating, some say, allowed early humans to track prey for hours, eventually causing the prey to collapse because of heat exhaustion. In this view, sweating allowed early humans to get high-quality calories and allowed running skill to be a desirable evolutionary trait.

2. There are two types of sweat glands.

Humans have apocrine glands and eccrine glands. Apocrine glands are the type that most other animals—who do sweat, but not as their main way of heat dissipation—have. In humans, apocrine glands are found only in certain body parts, including the armpits, nipples, eyelids and nostrils. The sweat produced by apocrine glands is oily and becomes smelly as it decomposes. It’s sensitive to adrenaline, which is why your palms, armpits and parts of your face might start sweating when you’re emotionally stressed.

Eccrine glands are found on your skin throughout your body. They’re the ones that release sweat to keep you cool, although, like apocrine glands, they can be triggered by emotional stress.

3. The fitter you are, the more you sweat.

As your aerobic fitness improves, you start to sweat earlier and at greater volume when exercising. This adaptation allows you to sustain a higher work load for a longer period of time, because it keeps your muscles cool enough to continue to function at a given intensity (up to a certain point of dehydration, of course).

But wait: Why does it seem like unfit people sweat more? The answer has to do with what constitutes a workout level of exertion for different people. If you’re fit, exercising at, say, 75% of your maximum heart rate involves moving pretty quickly. But for sedentary people, it’s easy to reach that level of exertion through something like climbing a few flights of stairs, and they might start sweating profusely. But if fit you and your unfit neighbor are both exercising at the same intensity, you’ll sweat more, because you’re moving faster, and are therefore generating more heat.

4. Sweat rates and composition vary greatly among people.

If you take a group of athletes of similar fitness and have them do a workout together, it’s likely that afterward some will be drenched, some sort of sweaty and some perhaps glistening a little. Some people are genetically more prolific sweaters than others (and therefore often more in need to be mindful of their hydration status).

The composition of your sweat might also be a lot different from that of your training partners. While everyone’s sweat becomes less dense with sodium, potassium and other electrolytes with continued exposure to heat, that acclimatization occurs within a genetically set range. There’s at least one facility in the U.S. that analyzes athletes’ sweat composition and recommends hydration strategies based on the findings.

5. Many cultures have a group-sweating tradition.

From Finnish saunas to Turkish baths to Native American sweat lodges, humans have long valued getting together to perspire. Anthropologists have theorized that group sweats build social bonds, reduce conflict and help to mediate disagreements.

 

We couldn’t agree more. Consider your next workout with friends a portable sauna.

 

Traci Dinwiddie to ride the AIDS/LifeCycle Ride

Friend of Nuun Traci Dinwiddie will be riding the AIDS/LifeCycle ride in California starting June 1st. Her and her team, Team Goodisness, have been busy training and raising money to help provide medical services to those living with HIV/Aids. We sat down with Traci to learn more about her involvement with the ride and her training.

Nuun: Who is team Goodisness? And how did you come up with the name?
Traci: Team Goodisness is a global tribe of adventurous, loving people who will ride together to help provide medical services to those living with HIV/Aids. We are 78 members, mostly women & two daring fellas who join in our passion for ending this pandemic. I came up with the term “Goodisness” many, many years ago. It’s just another fun way to describe “being present with the goodness in myself & others.” It seemed to fit what this team is all about.

What is the team’s fundraising goal?
Our team goal is a whopping $300,000!

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Is this the first time you’ve formed a team for the AIDS/LifeCycle Ride? How did you find the event?
This is the first time I have actively formed a team. Last year was my first time riding, so my focus was mainly on learning how to ride a bicycle! I had heard of AIDS/LifeCycle for many years. A lot of my friends were involved and sang its praises.

How many miles is the ride? And how long will it take you?
The ride begins in San Francisco and ends in Los Angeles with a total of 545 miles. It will take us 7 long, beautiful days!

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How has training been going? Are you working with a coach?
Training has been a mix of brutal head-winded century rides to gorgeous, sunny coastal coasts. We don’t have an official coach, but we have Training Ride Leaders, which is a group of people (like myself) who give extra attention to the newbies & ensure that safe riding habits are implemented by all AIDS/LifeCycle cyclists. We also remind them to drink before they’re thirsty and eat before they’re hungry.

Where is your favorite place to ride?
I am quite smitten with the Pacific Coast Highway. I love the beachy vibe and constant rollers. It lights me up!

How do you stay fueled and hydrated for your long rides? What are your favorite products to use?
I’m a Nuun Hydration kinda gal. My fave flavor is grape.

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Were you a cyclist prior to deciding to do this ride? How did you get into cycling?
I was not a cyclist before taking on AIDS/LifeCycle. Last season was my first time riding. The awesome guys at Cynergy Cycles in Santa Monica, taught me how to clip in & out of my pedals. I trained every weekend with our free ALC training rides and added some shorter spins during my weekdays.

Any other comments about this cause or the ride?
We join together in an effort to bring awareness to this disease and stop the stigma. We can end this pandemic. Start a conversation. Get tested. Ask for help. Be well and loved.  You can support my personal ride by donating to www.tracidinwiddie.com/alc

Or, pick a mate & donate! Team Goodisness page.

 

Bike to Work Day 2014

This morning every single Nuun employee woke up at the crack of dawn with one goal: to hydrate bike commuters on National Bike to Work Day.

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Nuun has been a long-time supporter of Cascade Bike Club in the Seattle area and has set up at one of the commuter stops for the past several years handing out samples to cyclists. We took it to the next level this year adding 4 more stops in Seattle and a stop in each Austin, TX and Decatur, GA where we have remote employees. We were even invited to hydrate the cyclists at Google New York and REI Headquarters down the road from us in Kent, WA.

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There are a number of Nuun employees who bike commute to Nuun HQ regularly and it was fun for all of us to be part of this event and share our love of Nuun with fellow bike commuters.

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Part of our mission at Nuun is to inspire people to get more active and riding bikes, whether it’s commuting to work or racing a road race, is a fun, easy way to get started.

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We believe that every day should be bike to work day!

When Post-Workout Fueling Matters Most

If you’re like a lot of people, you might not feel like eating soon after an especially long or hard workout. And then you might well find yourself struggling on a much easier workout a day or two later, and wondering how you suddenly got so out of shape.

That’s because you didn’t take advantage of the recovery window—the period immediately after a workout when your body is most receptive to refueling. “Eating soon after a workout will support, strengthen, and protect the body’s ability to adapt to training and demand more out of training,” says Jackie Dikos, a sport nutritionist in Indianapolis and a two-time Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier. Let’s look at when paying attention to the recovery window is most important, and how to easily take advantage of it.

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Fluids First

The top priority after any workout is rehydrating to replace the fluids and electrolytes you lose during even the shortest, easiest workout. Quickly returning your body’s fluid status to normal ensures good functioning the rest of the day, and a better workout tomorrow. Elite athletes such as this year’s Boston Marathon champion, Meb Keflezighi, are dedicated to immediate post-workout hydration. It’s the sort of habit that might not seem crucial on any given day, but that, over time, has a significant effect because of how often you feel better than you otherwise would have.

The First 30 Minutes

After long and/or hard workouts, you’ll recover more quickly if you take in some calories, and the sooner, the better. Research has found that, in the first 30 minutes post-workout, muscles are extraordinarily receptive to refueling—calories in the form of carbohydrates are converted to glycogen, your muscles’ stored form of carbohydrate, with up to 300% greater efficiency during this short period. Muscles’ sponge-like properties remain elevated up to 90 minutes after a workout, but start falling off after the first hour. (Hence the term “recovery window.”)

The ideal food during the recovery window contains 300-500 calories and has a carbohydrate-to-protein ratio of 4:1. The small amount of protein helps to speed glycogen resynthesis.

Who Needs it Most?

Dikos says that, while anyone who works out can benefit from paying attention to the recovery window, people who work out twice a day or do ambitious workouts over consecutive days should be most interested in recovery nutrition. At the least, you’ll want to be diligent about post-workout calories after your longest aerobic effort of the week, during which your muscles’ fuel stores are most drained. Harder workouts, such as a normal-length bike ride at a higher intensity, use more carbohydrates than easier workouts, so they’re also a good time to focus on recovery nutrition.

Taking advantage of the recovery window is especially important if you’ve felt low on fuel (as opposed to just normally fatigued) over the last part of a long workout. This includes athletes who do depletion rides or runs, in which you purposefully start a long workout without much in the gas tank in the hope of teaching your body to become more efficient at burning available energy stores. Doing these workouts occasionally, such as once a month, can be an effective training tool, but require special attention to post-workout nutrition so that your recovery isn’t delayed.

Simple Solutions

Some sport bars are formulated in the 4:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio. But many people are deterred by sport bars’ cost, the idea that it’s better to eat “real” food or a lack of interest in eating something so dense so soon after a long or hard workout.

Many people like chocolate milk as a convenient form of calories with some protein. As an alternative, Dikos recommends low-fat kefir, a fermented milk. Like chocolate milk, kefir provides carbohydrate, protein and electrolytes, but in addition, she says, “kefir contains beneficial live cultures to support a healthy gut and immune system for potentially exercise-induced immunosuppressed athletes. In addition, it is 99% lactose-free and better tolerated by those who have trouble digesting milk.”

Other quick mini-meals Dikos recommends: fruit and cottage cheese or Greek yogurt; a bowl of cereal; chicken noodle soup with crackers; a sandwich and piece of fruit; or a sweet potato topped with plain Greek yogurt.

Wait: What About Weight?

If one of your motivations to work out is weight control, all this talk of post-exercise refueling might seem counterproductive. After all, don’t you want to create a calorie deficit? Isn’t the recovery window just an excuse to snack?

“Recovery nutrition doesn’t necessarily mean adding snacks or calories to the day,” says Dikos. Her solution, which works well for busy people scheduling their workouts in conjunction with their many other responsibilities: “I suggest for workouts to occur just before the next main meal, such as prior to breakfast, lunch, or dinner, as to not add a significant calorie load while supporting recovery and weight-management goals.”