Who's better at sweating: Men or women?
October 8th, 2010
04:16 PM ET

Who's better at sweating: Men or women?

The idea that women's "glow" is somehow different from men's "sweat" has new support: A Japanese study finds that women have to work harder than men while exercising in order to start sweating.

Moreover, men are more efficient at sweating, say scientists at Osaka International University and Kobe University in Japan.

The study, published in the journal Experimental Physiology, looked at 37 people, which included 20 females and 17 males. Of them, 10 of the females and eight of the males were trained. "Training" meant that these subjects had participated in endurance sports for more than six years, whereas "untrained" people in the study had not done any regular physical activity in the previous three years, with the exception of gymnastics lessons. None of the females had taken oral contraceptives, which might have altered the sweating results.

Participants cycled at 35, 50 and 65 percent of their maximal uptake of oxygen for an hour, with relative humidity of 45 percent.

Researchers found that trained participants had a greater average local sweating rate on their foreheads, chests, backs, forearms and thighs than untrained participants. But there was a striking gender difference also: Men benefited more from their training experience in their sweat production than women.

Untrained females had to work harder or have a higher body temperature in order to achieve a maximal activated sweat gland response, the scientists found.

The scientists suggest that increases in the sweat gland's response to physical training was smaller among trained females than trained males. This could be because men have higher testosterone levels than women, and testosterone may enhance the sweating response.

An important limitation is that this study did not measure testosterone levels. Also, it only included 37 people.

The findings suggest that women especially should take care when a heat wave is about to hit. But everyone can benefit from regular exercise in terms of the way their bodies respond to heat.

Sweat may be smelly sometimes, but there are good reasons to want to perspire.

Perspiration is mostly water and salt, with trace amount of electrolytes, which help regulate the fluid balance in the body, according to the Mayo Clinic. This fluid comes from the eccrine glands, which get stimulated by the automatic nervous system when your body temperature goes up. This kind of sweat cools the body as it evaporates on the surface of the skin.

But there is also another kind of sweat, which comes from the apocrine glands. This is the type of sweat is associated with emotional stress, and the accompanying odor comes from bacteria breaking it down.

Future research would look at the effectiveness of different kinds of sweat, and also examine how the sweating response relates to reproductive hormones, study authors said.

soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. FEGR

    Once a woman passes menopause, she will sweat way more than any man.

    October 8, 2010 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jillejo

      Amen to that!

      October 9, 2010 at 21:10 | Report abuse |
    • Constantine


      October 10, 2010 at 12:06 | Report abuse |
    • Jesse

      I take psychotrops, it takes me 12 or 13 minutes to warm up my legs, like I can feel the the acid burning in them until, thats the amount of time taught in intermurals to start burning fat, on your study by sure to get a women's unbias opinion, most science has a solid foundation, then as the weaker or as a women we find our own science that even agrees, seems like I know this for a fact somehow but I can't remember on what subject, maybe just on burning fat and warming up, how much time do you think the girl in the wings runs then the obvious question, a RUNNER, like the defined RUNNER were me, I think if you get a women's oppinion on this study you'll get even closer to bigger questions. The defined athelete you've covered, I'm sure it goes deeper though, think outside the box. As a big guy in like self defense which largely covers sweating, seems like I'm honed in till I take a break, but then I'm exasperated, maybe you could fight some of the women in the study, just kidding, but seriously think outside the box. Its still young.

      October 10, 2010 at 20:15 | Report abuse |
  2. Steve

    From my own personal experiences.... it seems that once women start to sweat from physical exertion (during exercise) they tend to sweat longer and harder than many men. While it may take more effort for them to start sweating it last quite a while.


    October 8, 2010 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Arya

    I wonder if they took body weight and density into account. I imagine that larger individuals would achieve a greater internal temperature and thus require more cooling.

    October 8, 2010 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • FancyScrubs

      That's a good question on the density of the weight

      October 9, 2010 at 06:08 | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      Weird study, really. Maybe women don't NEED to sweat as much to get the same cooling affect. I agree with the body mass density being a possible factor.......

      October 10, 2010 at 20:38 | Report abuse |
  4. Joyce

    And this matters....how? And who paid for this study....and how much?

    October 8, 2010 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nada

      That would be you, me and everyone. 😉

      October 8, 2010 at 22:14 | Report abuse |
    • mountain mom

      You only paid for it if you're a Japanese citizen. READ the article. It was a Japanese study, conducted by scientists at a Japanese University.

      October 9, 2010 at 02:32 | Report abuse |
  5. r

    I thought the title said "swearing"! Then I read the first two sentences. And got bored. And stopped reading the story.

    October 8, 2010 at 19:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • parkcitybrian

      ha & yep

      October 8, 2010 at 19:58 | Report abuse |
  6. parkcitybrian

    sooooo verrrrry stoooopid & irrelevant. sorrrrry i wasted my time in reading this article.

    October 8, 2010 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. parkcitybrian

    & to the women out there....check out the pic at the top. is she representative of the female sweating population?

    October 8, 2010 at 19:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Joyce's Tutor

    It was a Japanese study, which it states in the first paragraph, and then again in further detail in the second. Did you just click on the article to complain?

    October 8, 2010 at 20:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • parkcitybrian

      wait...r u saying the pic is an asian girl? oh, now i get it...the geniuses at cnn (clown news network) posted a study by the japanese but used a non-asian model. ha..no wonder their ratings r in the total crapper.

      October 8, 2010 at 20:16 | Report abuse |
  9. Steve

    I love it when my woman sweats.....hot, sweaty sex....can't beat it....well, you could, but...well, you know what I mean...

    October 8, 2010 at 20:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Cieje Valentine

    This just in from the common sense department...

    October 8, 2010 at 20:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. jarpon

    Womens feet smell more usually.

    October 8, 2010 at 21:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Michael Daily

    Women may not need to sweat as much since being smaller and 🙂 more curvy than men, they have more surface area to radiate excess body heat, maybe by as much as 15% or so.

    October 8, 2010 at 22:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael Daily

      I meant surface area relative to weight.

      October 8, 2010 at 22:08 | Report abuse |
  13. parkcitybrian

    jeez...thank god no $$$ from the u s went into this crap...its sooo very fucking irrelevant...the only reason i started reading was cuz i thought it had to do with "swearing" not "sweating.

    October 8, 2010 at 22:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. joe

    wow what a waste of time reading this article, so glad they did an extensive study on all of 37 people, they couldnt even make it an even number of men and women, what a joke.

    October 8, 2010 at 22:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Guy

    Heck yes! Another thing men are better than women at!

    October 8, 2010 at 23:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. monstrousprof

    water and salt... and trace electrolytes??????? Who writes this crap? AUTOMATIC nervous system? Do you check references before publishing?

    October 9, 2010 at 01:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. mmi16

    I love to watch women sweat!

    October 9, 2010 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Ebgineer

    "autonomic", not "automatic" nervous system – slipped through the spell checker

    October 9, 2010 at 02:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. phoenixjeff

    Guess sweat is sexist to...

    October 9, 2010 at 03:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Paula

    I too thought it was about swearing. It just goes to show you what really interest Americans these days. On a sweat note, it was far too small a study to to taken seriously, why bother posting findings collected from 37 people?

    October 9, 2010 at 07:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rgvg

      I thought the same thing!! lolo time to change the glasses I quess

      October 10, 2010 at 11:05 | Report abuse |
  21. moribundman

    When I overheat it's not a pretty sight! :-p

    October 9, 2010 at 07:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Pambra's

    so glad I ran accross this article. The company I work for makes bra liners called Pambra's. A soft cotton liner that absorbs the nasty sweat and makes you feel more comfortable. Also new is a liner for under the tummy. If it doesnt say Pambra's then it is not the original. Pambra's are also Dr recommneded

    October 9, 2010 at 08:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • parkcitybrian

      "nasty sweat"?...jeez, get a grip. hope ur product does well in bev hills. as a member of the male species...i would not date/marry someone with that mentality.

      October 9, 2010 at 14:03 | Report abuse |
    • Terry from West Texas

      I hate marketing. I hate advertising. I hate the people who think that every occasion is an occasion for them to sell me herbalife/amway/pambers/insurance/real estate/whatever. How very obnoxious of you try to hustle your product. I sincerely hope that no one buys it. None of us have "nasty" sweat, we just have sweat. Many people are suggestible, and using adjectives like 'nasty' 'ridiculous' etc. just makes them more self-conscioius.

      Please no one should go to the parma website or buy the pamber produce for your undearms or "under your tummy" and what a disgusting phrase "under your tummy" is. Where exactly is "under your tummy?"

      Get a job and give up multi-level marketing, pyramid schemes, and door-to-door pestering.

      October 10, 2010 at 14:42 | Report abuse |
  23. Sagebrush Shorty

    Men sweat,women perspire.

    October 9, 2010 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Worried Mom

    at least Women don't smell

    October 10, 2010 at 00:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rgvg

      WOMEN DONT SMELL!! Ive worded with women that stink like a boar pig when working out – lol

      October 10, 2010 at 11:03 | Report abuse |
  25. Mz. El

    To the writer mentioning menopause, isn't that the truth!!

    WHY might this be relevant to anything?! For starters, it was probably a simple project for students, (duh!)

    How about "marketing"... They sell the information to corporations who pay bucks for this stuff and may pay more money to the university for more studies. Deodorant makers,medical – for people who sweat more than average folks for medical reasons, people who don't sweat at all...

    The writer might have included these points in the article.

    October 10, 2010 at 01:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Penny

    I am going thru meny paws. I sweat like a pig.(oink oink).

    October 10, 2010 at 02:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. veggiedude

    "None of the females had taken oral contraceptives, which might have altered the sweating results."

    That would make sense if it were only the men in the study that took the oral contraceptives. Did they? If none took any, then it is a level playing field.

    October 10, 2010 at 05:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. rgvg

    What I'd first like to know is how many millions were spent on this study? Who besides the folks who get paid for doing these usless studies or maybe antipersperant companies really give a rats arse

    October 10, 2010 at 11:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Terry from West Texas

      I doubt that this study was too expensive. You are one of those guys who spent science class in the back row shooting spitwads at the smart kids. You are still doing it.

      October 10, 2010 at 14:36 | Report abuse |
  29. the master

    I sweat like crazy the morning after a rough night partying

    October 10, 2010 at 14:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. clark1b

    were the participants from one nationality or were they diverse?

    October 10, 2010 at 22:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Page

    This study could have value. I need to show it to my workout coach who always seems to think I (a woman) should be sweating as much as the guys, or I'm not working out as hard as I could be. I've always contended I just don't sweat as easily. Maybe he'll ease up a bit!

    October 10, 2010 at 22:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Chi-town Chick in Houston

    In re: menopause, I guarantee you I sweat more sitting and doing nothing than anyone in that study at the height of their exercise.

    October 10, 2010 at 23:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Rob

    A question I'd have for the researchers is " What is the mass to surface area ratio of each participant? ". Men are typically bigger than women both in mass and surface area, but mass goes up more quickly than surface area. This means an average sized women has more surface area of skin per kilogram making it easier to stay cool and hold off sweating.

    October 11, 2010 at 08:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Sweat is great :)

    Working up a sweat with aerobic activity is great for one's physical health as well as mental health.
    If you keep a proper hygeine regimen, ie showers after exercising, and perhaps deodorant, there's really nothing to worry about smell-wise.
    Men may sweat more, but I also can work up a good sweat, too- seems like the perfect amount for me – I'm a 25 yr old woman, in decent shape 🙂
    Men being "Better at sweating" doesnt mean much – my sweat works just fine for me!

    Did they take hydration and or BMI(or surface to mass ratio) into account in the study, as others have mentioned?

    October 15, 2010 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sweat is great :)

      ... by hygeine, i mean hygiene 😛

      October 15, 2010 at 11:24 | Report abuse |
  35. Herbalife Republica Dominicana

    jaja! great article!

    October 17, 2010 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. TheBlogger

    hmmm, just curious to know Who stinks more as a result of sweating , men or women?.....

    October 20, 2010 at 21:22 | Report abuse | Reply
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