Sweat for the most part has a very negative connotation in the lives of most people in the society in which I live. It is seen not only as a nuisance, but also as an indicator of a lack of hygiene or concern for ones own personal appearance. Sweat betrays our feelings of nervousness and anxiety, it makes us feel sticky, smelly, dirty, and uncomfortable. We specially fear it when commuting to work or when attending an event.
Naturally sweat is one of the biggest obstacles in facilitating a renewed interest in the use of forms of transportation that exclusively rely on your physical strength to propel you from one place to another. Most people take good care of the way that they present themselves when arriving to their place of work or study. We are self-conscious of our appearance and we want to avoid strange looks or comments from friends or colleagues because of our seeming lack of personal hygiene.
Many of us have also become too accustomed to the comforts offered by motorized vehicles to ever give them up for a long walk under the midday sun instead. We have become highly dependent on the shade, the air conditioning, or the effortless travel from one location to another.
Despite the apparent drawbacks of having to rely on my physical energy to transport myself around my city, I do consider myself as one of the lucky few that actively choses not rely on motor vehicles for the overwhelming majority of my daily travel. My vehicle of choice is the bicycle, and with it comes lots of sweating.
I do not sweat everyday when riding my bike because I usually do not have to travel during the hottest time of the day and my average distance traveled is normally quite short. However, I am well aware that it does not take much effort before my internal body temperature rises and my body decides to cool down. Avoiding hills and the midday sun certainly helps, but often I must resign myself to the fact that there is not much that I can do.
I know very well what is like to arrive to an appointment drenched in sweat and to sit uncomfortably while my internal temperature stabilizes. It is normal for me to have to head straight for the bathroom soon after arriving to my destination, and to have to pack an additional shirt.
Fortunately, none of these side-effects bother me much or even affect my mood. I have also noticed that my body temperature generally stabilizes quite quickly after I arrive to my destination, and that I generally forget quite quickly that I was sweating profusely just a couple of minutes ago.
My approach to sweat is one in which I have come to embrace it. I tell myself that it is merely my body´s natural way of regulating its internal temperature. I see it as an inevitable part of my choice to depend as least as possible on motor vehicles.
Perhaps most importantly, I remind myself that if I am sweating it is because I am exercising. I am moving my body in such a way that it is forced to come out of its normal state of rest. I remember that I spend the overwhelming majority of my day either sitting or laying down. Physical activity would hardly be present in my life during my week if did not use my bicycle. Sweat reminds me that I have managed to break this almost constant state of rest and that it requires a considerable energy to actually move ones body over a long distance.
I do have to admit that I am a man on its early thirties, that I am not too overly concerned with my personal appearance, and that I work in an office with a pretty loose dress code. I am well aware that other people clearly do not have the same advantages or views that I have with regards to their work environment or opinions of their own personal appearance.
Naturally my personal circumstances and views fail to take into consideration many of the ways in which perspiration affects others with a very different personally or circumstances than my own. This is the reason why I do not want to dictate or tell others what they should or should not do. I simply want to share my views and personal experiences. I do not love or enjoy sweat, but I certainly do not let it deter me from using my physical energy in order to move around on a daily basis.