You're trucking along on the treadmill and as you reach for a towel to wipe off the perspiration on your forehead, you can't help but notice the guy to the right who's sweating so much. It looks like he jumped in a river. Why is it that some people sweat like crazy and some are barely glistening?
First off, sweating is the body's way of cooling itself off and maintaining a healthy temperature. You're born with between two and four million sweat glands. Women have more sweat glands than men, but men's glands are more active. How much you sweat depends on your gender, the number of sweat glands you have (more glands equal more sweat), how hot it is, how intensely you're exercising, or how anxious you feel.
The amount a person sweats also depends on how many sweat glands are activated and how much sweat is excreted from each gland. It turns out that fit men sweat significantly more than fit women. The same amount of sweat glands might be activated, but women produce less sweat from each gland. Fit people sweat more efficiently by sweating sooner during workouts, when their body temperature is lower. However, a sedentary person working at the same intensity will heat up a lot faster and possibly sweat more. Also, overweight people sweat more profusely than normal-weight individuals because fat acts as an insulator that raises core temperature.
Some things are in your control when it comes to sweating. If you're a coffee drinker, caffeine can increase perspiration, so if you're concerned, try cutting out that cup of joe. Drinking alcohol can have the same effect, so limit the cocktails. Smokers may also sweat more since nicotine can affect your hormones, skin, and brain. Wearing synthetic fabrics that trap in heat will make you feel more hot, making you more sweaty, so go for more breathable fabrics.
Unfortunately, some people suffer from excessive sweating, a common condition called hyperhidrosis. Their bodies' faucets turn on and their palms, feet, back, and face become covered in sweat, even if it's cold out or they're not moving. If this sounds familiar, consult your doctor to see what treatment options are available.