Who sweats more: men or women?

Sex differences in heat loss responses are dependent on body size and not sex,meaning that larger individuals sweat more than smaller ones during cycle exercise in warm and tolerable conditions. That’s what research published today in Experimental Physiology shows. 

The body cools itself down in two main ways: sweating and increasing circulation to the skin’s surface. Body shape and size dictates which of these two is relied upon for heat loss.  The study found that smaller males and females with more surface area per kilogram of body mass are moredependent on heat loss through increasing circulation and less dependentupon sweating. 

These findings by scientists from the University of Wollongong in Australia and Mie Prefectural College of Nursing in Japan call into question the conventional belief that women and men always respond differently to heat stress. 

The scientists looked at skin blood flow and sweating responses in 36 men and 24 women. They performed two trials (one of light exercise and the other of moderate) at 28 degrees Celsius and 36% humidity. These are conditions where the body is able to mitigate the additional heat produced during exercise and prevent further rises in body temperature by increasing sweating and blood flow to the skin. The same body temperature changes were observed in all participants within each trial regardless of sex. 

Lead author Sean Notley said:

 ‘Gender has long been thought to influence sweating and skin blood flow during heat stress. We found that these heat loss responses are, in fact, gender independent during exercise in conditions where the body can successfully regulate its temperature.’ 

 

ENDS 

 Notes for Editors

 

  1. Previous research in Experimetal Physiology found that men are better at sweating then women http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11492897  
  2. Full paper title: Variations in body morphology explain gender differences in thermoeffector function during compensable heat stress. DOI: 10.1113/EP086112
    Link to paper http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/EP086112/full 
  3. Experimental Physiology publishes translation and integration of research, specifically manuscripts that deal with both physiological and pathophysiological questions that investigate gene/protein function using molecular, cellular and whole animal approaches. http://ep.physoc.org
  4. The Physiological Society brings together over 3,500 scientists from over 60 countries. The Society promotes physiology with the public and parliament alike. It supports physiologists by organising world-class conferences and offering grants for research and also publishes the latest developments in the field in its three leading scientific journals, The Journal of Physiology, Experimental Physiology and Physiological Reports. www.physoc.org 

 

Contacts

The Physiological Society:

Julia Turan, Communications Manager

+44 (0)20 7269 5727

pressoffice@physoc.org

 Corresponding Author:

Nigel Taylor, University of Wollongong

+612 4221 3463

nigel_taylor@uow.edu.au