Team China is not sweating it.
Last Sat night I went out with a Chinese friend. We ended up going for a long dinner, and then to a wine bar for some drinks. We talked and talked, and suddenly I realized that it was only us left at the bar and that the waiter came up to our table.
-We’re closing. Do you mind? He said, apologetic, and pushed us the bill
That’s when I glanced at my watch and realized that we’d been out for 8 hours (!), talking non-stop. It was definitely time to leave! I think it’s best Chinese language practice I’ve gotten in a long time, however, and my dreams were in Chinese that night when I eventually fell asleep.
Anyway, during this marathon conversation we talked about a lot of interesting things, including fitness and working out. My friend confessed that he only eats salad at nights (!!) as he’s afraid of gaining weight. Now I never, ever, thought I’d hear about a guy doing that in China –but there we go.
Another thing he explained to me is why Chinese people don’t perspire as much as westerners when working out. This is something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, since I often do yoga/spinning/classes together with Chinese people, and since the pool of sweat (TMI –sorry!!!) is always (by far) the biggest around my yoga mat/bike/spot.
-It’s because Chinese people, or Asians in general, have relatively underdeveloped sweat glands. They have noticeably fewer apocrine glands than black or white people (FYI: these glands contribute to the smell of sweat when mixed with bacteria). This is why a lot of Chinese people don’t use deodorant, cologne or perfume.
My friend also told me that for Chinese people, sweating is considered a sign of being unhealthy.
-A lot of people obviously know that it isn’t so, like the ones that go to the gym a lot etc, but the overall image of sweating in China is that it’s a sign of bad health.
This last statement I’ve heard before, but I never actually thought there was any kind of reason for it. To tell you the truth, I thought it had something to do with people being too lazy to do sports. Now, however, my I realize that I’ve been quite narrow-minded in my thoughts, so I’m happy I got this one straightened out. For me, that have done sports since I was a kid, sweating (a lot!) is such a normal thing, and I’ve never really been too ashamed of it. Rather, I’ve seen it a sign of good health, an active metabolism system that burns a lot, and a great excuse for eating a lot of food (hehe). But there we go –in China I’m not considered that healthy after all. Oh well. At least now I know why.