You don’t mind that your workout made you sweat buckets. That was the whole point, after all.
But the seemingly never-ending perspiration afterward is super annoying. No one wants to be the sticky guy on the bus, in the conference room, or at happy hour.
Exercise raises your temperature, so your body produces sweat to cool you down, says Ollie Jay, Ph.D., a thermal physiologist at the University of Sydney.
But it’s the evaporation of sweat—not the act of sweating itself—that ultimately cools you down, he says. So in order to quickly stop sweating after a workout, you need to do two things: lower your temperature and aid evaporation.
Luckily, doing both of these things isn’t difficult. Just follow these 4 steps to chill out and leave the sweat puddles at the gym.
STEP 1: Add ice
Skip the lukewarm water fountain. People who drank ice-cold water while exercising perspired less than people who drank warmer water, according to a recent University of Ottawa study.
Thermoreceptors in your abdomen, which are neurons that detect changes in temperature, help your brain regulate sweat output, researchers found.
When ice water hits your stomach, your thermoreceptors tell your brain to decrease your sweat.
Guzzle the fluid during and after your gym session to chill your body from the inside out, says Men’s Health sports medicine advisor Jordan D. Metzl, M.D.
STEP 2: Find a fan
Ever notice that it seems like you sweat more after a workout than during it? That’s because wind or air flow on your skin helps accelerate the evaporation of your sweat, Jay says. But when you stop moving, the sweat accumulates.
Stand in front of an AC vent or fan in the locker room while you rehydrate. It’s best if you’re shirtless since clothing can be a barrier for evaporation. If there’s no fan or vent available, use a hair dryer set on cool.
Whatever you do, though, don’t fan yourself. Moving your arms will just make your body produce even more heat, Jay says.
STEP 3: Take a soak
Now that you’ve slowed down the sweating, you can take a shower—just make sure it’s a cold one, Dr. Metzl says. The chilly water on your skin helps lower your core body temperature even further, he says, reducing your body’s need to sweat more.
STEP 4: Add more ice
Still dripping? Deploy this last strategy: Apply an ice pack, an ice-cold water bottle, or a frozen towel, to the back of your neck, your underarms, and your groin until the sweat finally stops.
You have large arteries that are close to the skin in these areas, so putting ice directly on them is a sure-fire way to lower your core temperature, explains Jay.