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Japanese scientists have confirmed the axiom that men sweat while women glow. Writing in the journal Experimental Physiology, Osaka International University researcher Yoshimoto Inoue and his colleagues measured the sweat production rates of a mixed group of 37 trained and untrained men and women as they underwent an hour-long exercise regime that had them working out at between 35% and 60% of their maximum workloads.The researchers also totted up the density of sweat glands on the subject's skins.
Men, they found, produced significantly more sweat than women, especially with increasing exercise intensity, and amongst both sexes exercise training augmented sweat gland activity, although much more so amongst males. The female study participants also became much hotter before they began to sweat maximally compared with either their trained or untrained male counterparts.
Apart from confirming the stereotype, the research sheds light on a number of outstanding questions regarding how the two sexes cope differently with temperature extremes. According to Inoue, "women generally have less body fluid than men and may become dehydrated more easily. Therefore the lower sweat loss in women may be an adaptation strategy that attaches importance to survival in a hot environment, while the higher sweat rate in men may be a strategy for greater efficiency of action or labour."
Next, the team plan to look at how hormones influence the process, based on the belief that testosterone is the driver behind mens' more prodigious sweat outputs, as well as accouting for why exercise training boosts sweat gland activity.