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Sweat is often something that we see as an annoyance–a gross layer of water that coats our skin on a hot day or after a strenuous workout.

But researchers at the University of Ottawa see a lot of potential in those sometimes-embarrassing moisture beads. In fact, they believe that the sweat glands on our body can be trained to cool us more effectively.

In a high-tech lab, the researchers have been subjecting athletes to training in various conditions to see how their bodies respond. Whether it’s a higher heat, humidity or anything else they can directly control. What they’ve seen so far is that the body’s two million sweat glands adapt to consistent exercise by finding more efficient ways to cool down.

“If you think of it just like a muscle, and the sweat gland is surrounded by muscle, and if they’re activated more synchronously around the skin, and that’s induced by training, then you could forseeably have a greater film around the skin of sweat,” said researcher Nicholas Ravanelli.

It might seem like pointless research, but it could have applications for people in the military, professional athletes, or all of us, as global warming cranks up the planet’s temperature.

For more information on the science of sweat, check out the video above.

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