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What is the reasoning for measuring and recording sweat rate? Ultimately, there are several answers to this question, all of which are valid. There’s a strong case to be made for simply saying “more data is better”, and therefore if we can record any physiological metric we should. The argument here says that when more metrics are measured, a coach can form a clearer picture of how an athlete responds to a training load. Measuring and recording a wide variety of metrics means that a coach can use historical data to predict current performance.

Let’s imagine a professional cycling team. When selecting the squad for a race the coaches will draw upon a huge pool of data to help make the best selection. For example Cyclist A might have had the best performance in a recent race but because the amount & quality of their sleep is being tracked the coaches know that this athlete isn’t fully recovered so many not be the best choice for the next race. Or Cyclist B might usually not have made the team but because their haematocrit is particularly high the coaches know Cyclist B is a good choice for a given race.  In my opinion tracking as many metrics as possible is a good mantra to follow, however, for the non-professional athlete, with limited resources, it is just not practical to track everything.

Another reason sweat rate is a useful metric to measure is that is a fundamental metric, and one which can be trained. Whenever a human performs exercise they have to burn fuel to create movement. The burning of fuel is not an efficient process, with around 80% of the energy that was stored in the fuel appearing as heat rather than being used to perform the exercise. Because human physiology is dependent on the core body temperature being kept within a relatively tight range, this heat has to leave the body. In the exercising human most of this heat is lost via the evaporation of sweat. Just like most other physiological processes the sweat response can be trained, with the individual sweat glands becoming bigger and more efficient with training. Ultimately, what this means for an athlete is that an under-trained sweat response may be a limiting factor during exercise. Since it is important to track any metric that may be a limiting factor during competition, this explanation shows that sweat rate is a metric that is a metric that worth tracking.

For further insight into the rational for measuring sweat rate, and how sweating effects the exercising human, download and print the KuduSmart white paper:    Pdf file download icon