Is it hot where you live? During the summer months, many parts of the United States get hot… sometimes VERY hot! If you play or exercise outside, you’re likely to work up a sweat in a hurry.

You may even hear people say they’re “sweating buckets.” What are they talking about? No, they don’t have buckets coming out of their skin, but they are probably sweating a lot.

Why do some people use the phrase “sweating buckets” to mean that they’re sweating a lot? Well… buckets come in all sorts of sizes, but one common measurement is that a bucket is equal to five gallons.

Can you imagine sweating enough to fill a five-gallon bucket? Probably not! That would be a lot of sweat. But you can see how the image of a bucket of sweat can communicate the idea that you’re sweating a lot.

Sweating — also known as “perspiration” — is your body’s way of cooling itself to regulate temperature. Everything your body does generates heat. Whether it’s exercising, eating or even sleeping, your body constantly produces heat.

To stay healthy, your body needs to maintain a fairly constant temperature of 98.6° F. When you exercise, especially during the hot summer months, your body temperature can rise rapidly.

To keep from overheating, your body uses your blood and skin to get rid of excess heat. As your blood heats up, it carries the heat to the skin, which causes your sweat glands to produce sweat.

Sweat is mostly water with small amounts of salts and amino acids. As sweat comes out of the tiny pores in your skin, it evaporates and cools the skin beneath it. Scientists estimate that one drop of sweat can cool one liter of blood by 1° F.

Believe it or not, you sweat all the time — even when you’re asleep! How much you sweat, though, depends mainly on your body temperature.

As a general rule, you’ll sweat less in winter and more in summer because your body as a whole is usually cooler in the winter and hotter in the summer.

Adults who exercise a lot can sweat up to four gallons each day! Under normal circumstances, the average person sweats up to 1.5 gallons each day.

Would you believe that about half a pint of that sweat comes from your feet? That might explain that smell in your tennis shoes!

As you sweat, your body is losing water. That’s why it’s important to drink plenty of water.

Your body needs a constant supply of water for many things, one of which is for sweat to regulate your body temperature. So don’t forget to stay hydrated!

 

12 Join the Discussion

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  1. I have never wondered how much a bucket of sweat is. Thanks for sharing the information. My dog pants a lot and my mom says that’s his way of sweating because he has fur. It has been sooooo hot here. I bet I have filled a sweat bucket, already today. I have been playing outside nonstop!

    I think that tomorrow’s wonder is about Horses because you used Hay and stead of Hey. Or it could be about how meteorologists predict sunny weather. I hope it is a sunny one tomorrow!!

    • It’s been super hot in Wonderopolis, too, Meredith! We’re so happy to hear you are enjoying your summer by playing outside…that’s a GREAT place to Wonder! Thanks so much for commenting! :-)

  2. I thought the wonder of the day was very interesting because I did not know people could sweat that much. My grandfather sweats a lot. The next time I see him sweating I am going to tell him to drink lots of water.

    Maddy

    • Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis and leaving this great comment, Maddy! We’re sure your grandfather will appreciate you caring about him so much and reminding him to stay hydrated! Have a WONDERful day! :-)

  3. Hey Guys,

    I somehow stumbled across this site looking for something totally different however I ACTUALLY LEARNED something. I never knew that is where the saying “sweating buckets” came from! Ha, there you go. Who says the net is a time waster!

    Thanks,
    Justin

    • Welcome to Wonderopolis, Justin! We’re glad you stopped by and that you learned something new from this Wonder of the Day®!

  4. Hi! How many wonders have you done? Are you going to do any Christmas wonders? Are you ever going to stop Wonderopolis? Are you going to do Thanksgiving wonders? Do you like doing Wonderopolis? It’s cool that you make a comment page for people to comment on. Are you going to put a wonder for every season? We enjoy looking at your wonders.

    • Those are a LOT of really great questions, Kayla, Sara and Audrey! Thanks so much for sharing them with us!

      As of today, October 23, 2011, there are 386 Wonders to explore in Wonderopolis! We will have some really interesting “seasonal” Wonders coming up, so check back every day to learn with us! We DO like working in Wonderopolis and sharing each new, exciting Wonder of the Day® with our Wonder Friends (like you)! We don’t ever want to stop WONDERing, and we hope you don’t, either! :-)

    • Thanks for WONDERing with us, Torrance! The maximum amount of sweat an adult person can produce in an hour is about 1/2 to 1 gallon, which is 128 to 256 tablespoons. If we divide these tablespoon amounts by 60 (for the number of minutes in one hour) we get about 2-4 tablespoons of sweat per minute. The amount depends on the temperature and how hard you are exercising, though! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How much is a bucket of sweat?
  • What is perspiration?
  • Why is it important to stay hydrated?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Ready to break a sweat? It’s time for a Wonderopolis workout!

Grab some friends and family members, and try out these exercises that’ll help keep you in shape without needing to go to a gym:

Before, during and after exercising, don’t forget to make sure that you’re giving your body the fluids it needs. Stay hydrated with these helpful tips:

  • Drink water or sports drinks. Make sure your kids drink plenty of water each day. Sometimes, though, they may prefer a flavored drink. Sports drinks that replace important vitamins and minerals are great, and kids may be willing to drink them more readily than water.
  • Avoid sodas, iced tea and other drinks that have caffeine. Drinks with caffeine will cause your body to lose more fluid.
  • Drink enough. Find out how much water you need to drink each day.
  • Drink early. If you wait until you’re thirsty, you may already be dehydrated. Encourage your kids to drink before, during and after exercising.

 

Still Wondering

Check out Science NetLinks’ The Warmth of the Sun lesson to learn more about the sun and how it plays a critical role in warming the land, air and water around us.

 

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