Lately, I've been sweating up a storm at the gym--I get dripping wet in both spinning and aerobic/cross training type classes. Is that a sign that I'm out of shape? Is it hormonal (I'm in my late 40s with no real sign of menopause yet.)? Does outdoor heat and humidity affect you when you exercise indoors?

ask the trainer, jim beatty

Spinning and group exercise classes are famous for big sweats… and they should be. When the big muscles of the legs and hips are used continuously, and the heart and lungs are pumping to supply those muscles with fuel, the body needs to cool itself down. Sweating is not a sign of being out of shape, but rather a sign of working hard. Sweating hard is a sign that you're working at a high intensity level, and that your body is doing a good job at eliminating that extra heat being produced.


While the late 40s pre-menopausal situation may have a bit of an impact on it all, I think that anyone working hard in those classes would be sweating, or at least they should be. . Typically in class environments the room can get a bit stuffy too, due to everyone else working hard and breathing hard. Even though the air conditioning is on, body heat can raise the temperature in the room easily.


You bring up a really interesting question about the temperature outside having an effect while exercising inside in the air conditioning. Although it's not a direct effect, and not as intense as exercising outside in the heat and humidity, (which for a lot of people probably isn't a good idea due to the poor air quality in those conditions), it definitely contributes to the overall stress on the body. Even going from the heat to air conditioning over and over is somewhat stressful.


Remember, exercise is stress, and any and all types of stress contribute to the total stress load. Whether it's stress at work, family stress, or just the increase in heat and humidity, it all adds up on our bodies. Be sure to adjust your workouts accordingly in those times of extra stress. Brief and intense workouts are the best. Work hard to provide the stimulus to make your body adapt, adjust, and improve, and then focus on your recovery, especially in heat and humidity. Be sure to drink plenty of water both during and after exercise. Eat well to put back the fuel that you used and to provide the raw materials for your body to restructure its muscle tissue, and be sure to get plenty of rest. Keep this in mind too… Exercise is only the stimulus… the getting better part happens when you're resting. So Train Hard and Smart, and Rest Harder and Smarter!