Sweaty hands? No big deal… lots of people have them. Though if you’re a climber, it can cause you a bit of trouble. Hyperhidrosis, as the condition of excessively sweaty hands is known, can make it hard for you to climb, seeing as getting a good grip is critical to getting those tough holds.
Whether you have hyperhidrosis or your hands just get really prone to sweating a bit, there are things you can do to help. And when you do them, you’ll find that you can relax and enjoy climbing all the more. You deserve it!
This post is going to help you overcome your hyperhidrosis so you can get up on that climbing wall without worrying you can’t hang on. Keep reading to overcome this pesky hindrance to your climbing!
So, what is hyperhidrosis?
As mentioned, hyperhidrosis is when you experience an abnormal increase of sweating in the hands, which is meant to help keep your body temperature regulated. Sometimes, the name of this condition is used as a blanket term for perspiration through the hands while other times, it’s used to describe the excessive sweating that can occur.
If you have hyperhidrosis, you’re not alone, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed. It happens to more people than you think. And you don’t have to sit back and suffer with it or let it stop you from living your life. While it can hinder you in some ways, you can fight back by outsmarting your condition with science to work in your favor.
Keep reading to find out how you can still succeed in climbing even if your hands are excessively sweaty.
How to climb if you have really sweaty hands?
Want to climb but can’t stop your hands from getting slippery and sweaty? You’ll find some very helpful solutions here that can help you keep firm hands without any slippage while climbing.
Here are some solutions:
1. Get an Iontophoresis machine to get rid of excessive sweating when climbing
If you want to climb without worrying about sweaty hands, causing you to slip and slide, a fantastic solution is to use an iontophoresis machine. This treatment is used to treat excessive sweating for both palms and feet, and studies have shown that these machines are really effective.
It’s believed that the ions in the water create a mechanical block that prevents sweat from getting to the surface of the skin. So this iontophoresis machine, uses a mild power supply with a low electric current that you can adjust to your liking. You put your hands (or your feet) in the water bath part of it and then turn it on.
And before you object about water and electricity, the way the machine is created prevents dangerous situations from occurring. You can also find battery-powered models. And you can even make one yourself.
Does iontophoresis work for everyone?
Are you wondering if iontophoresis will work for you? It has been shown to be effective in improving excessive sweating for up to 90% of people who used it correctly. That’s pretty impressive. If your hands are so sweaty that it makes climbing difficult, this could be a great way to stop that sweatiness from getting in the way of climbing on the wall, or for any other area of your life.
You’ll need to make sure you are using it correctly too. All iontophoresis machines come with manuals that explain it all. With a 90% effective rate, it’s worth trying. However, it should be noted that certain people should never use it.
Who shouldn’t use iontophoresis machines? For starters, if you’re pregnant, you should avoid it. There isn’t enough research available to see if it’s safe for you. And just so you know, you can safely climb while pregnant if you are careful and have a low-risk pregnancy (you can read about that in this post I wrote).
Others who shouldn’t use it are those that have pacemakers or metal implants anywhere in the body. It will be very dangerous for you, so please don’t do it!
If you’re not in any of those categories of people who shouldn’t use it, then you might be wondering, what are the side effects of using an iontophoresis machine? It can cause a bit of discomfort on your hands as you attempt to treat your sweaty palms, but it shouldn’t hurt. If you do feel pain from using it, reduce the power level immediately. Your skin can become very irritated and turn red if you turn the power up too much.
Also, if you have to have a small cut or some sort of damage on your hands, perhaps a little cut from climbing on the rocks or even from cooking in your kitchen, you should protect it. Vaseline makes that possible. Just smooth some over the affected area before you use this form of treatment. This is the one I use.
So, how long does it take until your hands get less sweaty from using the iontophoresis machine? All told, if you use it correctly, you can expect that your hands will be much less sweaty after 12 treatments or so. With the high success rate of this type of machine helping countless people with overly sweaty palms and feet, it’s a good option to consider as a climber. You can easily reduce your sweatiness and soon enjoy a better climbing experience.
2. Reduce your water retention
Water retention could be what’s getting in your way too. If you make a few simple changes to your diet, you can correct that and see if it helps keep your palms from getting sweaty. Be honest about your diet…are you eating fresh fruits and veggies with every meal? Or are you going for cheeseburgers and fries? While we can’t argue the deliciousness of the latter choice, that should be something that you enjoy on rare occasion rather than a daily meal.
How can you reduce your water retention? Stop eating so many processed foods and avoid refined carbs for a start. And make sure you do these things too:
– Stop eating so much salt
Salt, or sodium, binds to water in your body to uphold a balance for the fluids inside and outside of cells. But eating too many foods that are high in salt can lead to water retention. Try to cut back your intake of processed foods that have too much sodium. Read those labels!
You might think a nice, hearty bowl of vegetable soup is a great way to nourish yourself before or after a climb, but if you pour it out of the can, you’ll quickly see the sodium levels in it are astronomical. Instead, make your own soup using reduced sodium bone broth for a much healthier (not to mention much more delicious) alternative.
– Get more magnesium
Magnesium is so important for your body that it is used in over 300 enzymatic reactions to keep your body going. Plus, it’s an all-star for any climber that wants to reduce water retention. Choose things like nuts, whole grains, and those leafy green veggies. Dark chocolate is another way to get it. Enjoy pure dark chocolate as a treat when you’re craving something sweet. Supplements can be effective too, though make sure you buy from a reputable brand like Nobi Nutrition it’s by far the highest rated one I’ve seen on Amazon with around 2000 5-star reviews.
– Boost your vitamin B6 intake
This group of vitamins helps red blood cells form and can reduce water retention, especially for women. You can get it by eating more walnuts, bananas, meat, and potatoes when you prepare your meals and you can also enjoy it as a supplement to ensure you’re getting the recommended daily value.
– More potassium
Potassium is just as important as magnesium is for your body. It sends electrical signals that keep the body going and is good for heart health. Potassium reduces your sodium levels by counteracting them. Bananas have long been known as an ideal source for potassium. If you eat plenty of them, you wipe out excess sodium in your body. That’s not to say you should keep eating junk and eat bananas to balance it out. But rather, any excess sodium your body can’t process can be tamed with bananas. Also, avocados and tomatoes will help you out too.
Aim to eat healthy for your best climbs and add more potassium to your diet. Incidentally, bananas make great treats for when you’re out on a climb since they’re so portable, so start taking them along too.
– Take dandelion, the natural diuretic
Used in folk medicine for ages, dandelion is a natural diuretic that will make you have to urinate much more frequently. This pushes out extra fluid. Probably not the best thing to take when you’re about to climb on the weekend, but when you’re at home or the office, give it a try.
– Say sayonara to refined carbs
Your body definitely needs carbs for a balanced lifestyle, but when those carbs are refined, they spike your blood sugar and your insulin levels too. When your insulin levels are always high, you retain more sodium since your kidneys reabsorb them and thus, the fluid volume in your body increases.
Choose good-for-you carbs like whole grains and brown rice. Eat friendly carbs you get in your vegetables. Just keep away from doughnuts, cakes, and other junk.
– Exercise more
We can’t argue that climbing is great exercise, but we’re sure you don’t have time to do it every day. At work, get up and walk around several times a day or get to the gym before or after your workday. Even just walking can help reduce fluid buildup.
– Refresh with water
When you lower your sodium intake, washing away toxins with water is always an effective way to reduce water retention, which could keep your palms cool and dry.
– Try some other herbs
Parsley, fennel, and nettle are just a few herbs that can be beneficial diuretics, which will help you release that excess fluid. Try adding them to the things you cook in your kitchen. Even just adding more fresh parsley to your organic whole wheat pasta for dinner can be very beneficial.
– Drink cranberry juice
They say cranberry juice is an excellent diuretic. Many women drink it for urinary tract infections. It can really push out toxins and clear your system out. The only thing you should watch out for though is that many store-bought brands have tons of sugar. Seek out one that’s natural, so you have better health all around, especially when you climb.
3. Use liquid chalk as a base layer
It most certainly can’t hurt to change your diet for the better. It will help you reduce the sweatiness in your hands as well as keep you healthier so you’ll be able to endure strenuous climbs. But no matter what you do, it you find your hands are sweaty, even minimally so, you can use liquid chalk. I generally go for FrictionLabs’ liquid chalk (Check the current price on Amazon), it’s made out of magnesium carbonate, isopropyl alcohol and water and once dried off is basically like unicorn dust! I just love it!
Simply rub it on your hands and let it dry, then get up there on your climb. On super-hot days, it can be an excellent base. It dries out your hands, and then you can add your regular climbing chalk when you need it. You can find out more about different types of climbing chalk and how to use them in our other post here!
Hyperhidrosis shouldn’t stop you from climbing, and you shouldn’t be embarrassed about it. Many people regularly experience excessively sweaty hands. And plenty more climbers experience it when they get nervous.
Fortunately, there’s much you can do to help control the sweating. You can use an iontophoresis machine, change up your diet to prevent water retention, and use climbing chalk to help reduce the sweatiness and give you a much better grip. Incorporate all three of these ways to control sweatiness for climbing, and you’ll be able to enjoy the sport all the more!