Stopping the onslaught of buckets of sweat
July 28, 2007 9:53 AM   Subscribe

It's eighty degrees in my apartment, but I still need to exercise. No problem so far, but after I finish I'm pouring with sweat. Is there anything I can do to chill out faster?

I was going to be coy about this, but heck with it: my exercise routine of choice is an hour of Dance Dance Revolution. This means that I can't really do it anywhere else (without going bankrupt, anyway). It also means that I can't do it in the morning—when temperatures are cooler and I could maybe do it before my regular shower—since DDR is noisy and there are other tenants in this building.

I don't have a problem doing this in the heat, but I keep sweating a lot afterwards. I know that's healthy and important for my body and all that good stuff, but it's also distracting. I've even started taking cold showers after the workout, but that doesn't seem to really help. I've asked Google if I should take hot showers instead, but advice is mixed. Is there anything I can do to get the sweating to stop?

And yes, I am considering an air conditioning unit, but I'm wondering what other options are out there.
posted by brett to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
I don't understand why the cold shower doesn't help.

Anyway, your overheatedness just means you are continuing to burn calories.
posted by konolia at 9:57 AM on July 28, 2007

sweating is good for you, and the heat loosens up your muscles and prevents muscle strains or tears...just make sure to hydrate well before and after

after you're done, take a walk outside, get out in the air and your sweat will evaporate better, you'll cool down and stop sweating and a walk after a hard cardio workout is good for you

then take your long cool shower...but sweating is normal, it's ok!

also, try a ride in the car with a/c

only a couple more months and this all will be over anyway
posted by Salvatorparadise at 9:57 AM on July 28, 2007

Get a clean towel of whatever size you choose, soak it in water, wring it out, place on body. For additional cooling, sit in front of a fan.

Additionally, you can wet the towel beforehand and place it in your refrigerator. When you're done exercising, bring out the towel and place on body.
posted by skwillz at 9:59 AM on July 28, 2007

Drink a big glass of cold water. Preferably from a chiller mug. Fastest way I've found to cool down. Whether it's healthy or not to change your body temperature that rapidly is something you'd have to ask your Doctor, though.
posted by Rabulah at 10:22 AM on July 28, 2007

DDR is pretty awesome exercise. I know I sweat like a fiend when I play for five minutes, an hour must be killing you. Don't fight the sweat, hydrate like crazy and sweat as much as you can. Then, when your hour is up go outside and walk a mile(-ish) to cool down and then take your shower. Take it easy on the walk, don't overexert yourself and let the movement of the air cool you down. Remember what happened to George Costanza when his shower didn't take.
posted by knowles at 10:22 AM on July 28, 2007

I have no idea where you live but if it is anywhere on the east side of the US, the problem might not be the heat so much as the humidity. I continue to sweat after an intense workout and a cool shower at my air conditioned gym, but the air conditioning helps the sweat evaporate instead of sticking to me. I think the best you can hope to do is stay in the shower a bit longer to lower the body temp more quickly and hang out near a fan.
posted by ch1x0r at 10:23 AM on July 28, 2007

My physical therapists suggested that I follow my exercise routine with an icing session: applying an ice pack to the area of my injury. So I do my routine, then sit or lie with an ice pack pressed across my back and lower back.

Its primary benefit, of course, is to soothe irritation and pain to the injured area, but now that hot weather has hit, I find that it cools me down a good deal faster than resting near a fan or even taking a shower.

Obviously, staying hydrated and keeping the air circulating help, too.

Also, when I lived in a hotter climate, I found the following more cooling by far than a cold shower: draw a few inches of cold-cold-cold water into the tub. Force yourself to sit in it. As soon as you stop swearing, splash yourself by hand and by washcloth with the cold-cold-cold water. Slide down so that your back and the back of your head are submerged. Listen to your heart stop.

IANAD, of course, and this is not medical advice.
posted by Elsa at 11:19 AM on July 28, 2007

i have a hard time cooling down post exercise as well. I've found that the cold shower helps (although its more of a cold rinse since the hot shower feels too good to give up. Also, I try to avoid getting too clothed before I cool down completely, so that means wandering around the house in a towel for a bit.
posted by mmascolino at 12:15 PM on July 28, 2007

Here's an article on heat-related illnesses. I'd be very careful of giving yourself heatstroke because you can end up in the hospital, and if you live alone, you may have a difficult time getting help.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet in this thread (but is in the article) - certain medications can cause you to overheat more quickly.

Also from WebMD, here are the recommended treatments for mild heat exhaustion.
* Stop your activity, and rest.
* Get out of direct sunlight and lie down in a cooler environment, such as shade or an air-conditioned area. Elevate your feet. Remove all unnecessary clothing.
* Cool down by applying cool compresses or having a fan blow on you. Place ice bags under your arms and in your groin area, where large blood vessels lie close to the skin surface, to cool down quickly.
* Drink rehydration drinks, juices, or water to replace fluids. Drinks such as sports drinks that contain electrolytes work best. Drink 2 qt of cool fluids over 2 to 4 hours. You are drinking enough fluids if your urine is normal in color and amount, and you are urinating every 2 to 4 hours. Total rehydration with oral fluids usually takes about 36 hours, but most people will begin to feel better within a few hours.
* Rest for 24 hours, and continue fluid replacement with a rehydration drink. Rest from any strenuous physical activity for 1 to 3 days.
I am not a medical professional of any sort though I have suffered both heat exhaustion & heat stroke.
posted by desjardins at 12:43 PM on July 28, 2007

Go to Walgreens, Target, or wherever, and get one of the cheap ugly 20" box fans. It shouldn't set you back more than $15, but they will push a hell of a lot of air. Noisy and ugly, yes, but extremely effective. (Have one running right now, since my swamp cooler doesn't work worth squat during the monsoons.)
posted by azpenguin at 12:59 PM on July 28, 2007

get two shoe box sized plastic bins at Target or some container store. Fill them halfway with ice and water and put your feet in them. This is what I used to do on really hot days on my roof in Brooklyn. Never fails to cool me down. My unscientific theory is because the blood probably moves the slowest through the veins in the feet due to gravity so that's where you have the longest period to cool the blood. I'm probably wrong but it still works.
posted by any major dude at 3:37 PM on July 28, 2007

My unscientific theory is because the blood probably moves the slowest through the veins in the feet.

It's more so that you're exposing a large, vascular surface area (especially the soles of the feet) to a medium that is colder and denser than air, facilitating heat conduction.

This expensive gadget works with a similar principle, but without water.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:20 PM on July 28, 2007

After you shower, if you can, don't get dressed right away... let your skin dry off a little, even after you towel off.

If you can't do that, use plain baby powder in all your sweaty spots (joints, neck, under your boobs, etc) to absorb a light amount of sweat and keep your clothes a little dryer... it won't absorb exercise-levels of sweat, though. On really hot days I always use baby powder to stay dry.
posted by IndigoRain at 3:14 PM on July 29, 2007

I think the key is to get your core body temperature back down. A cool shower is great, but staying under the cold spray for just a few minutes is only going to cool your skin -- you've got to stay in it long enough to cool down your core.

One way to deal with it is to stay as cool as you can when you work out. As others have mentioned, get yourself a fan. To make it even more effective, let the air blow over a big bowl of ice.

If that doesn't work for you, try a cool bath instead of a cool shower.
posted by jknecht at 9:44 AM on July 30, 2007

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