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Isotonic drinks and long-distance runnersFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project was done to investigate the effect of isotonic drinks on the performance of long-distance athletes.

Hypothesis

Long distance runners will improve their performance by drinking isotonic drinks during runs.

Scientific Terms

Dehydration, electrolytes, muscle contraction, carbohydrates

Background

Isotonic drinks and running

During exercise, a lot of the body’s water is lost through sweat. This causes dehydration. Our body needs to sweat in order to maintain a normal body temperature. But in the process, a lot of electrolytes are also lost through our sweat.
The body’s electrolytes such as magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium help to conduct electric currents within our muscles that control muscular contractions. A shortage or imbalance in the levels of electrolytes in our bodies will cause fatigue, tiredness, sluggishness and a lack of energy.

Drinking water can help to rehydrate the body after moderate exercises. But strenuous exercise lasting more than 1 hour will require more than a  replacement of the water that is lost through sweating. Electrolytes and carbohydrates lost during the exercise will also need to be replenished.

Isotonic drinks contain water, electrolytes and about 8% carbohydrates. Isotonic drinks are a convenient and quick way to help replace fluids and electrolytes that are lost through exercise and training, They also provide enough carbohydrates for an energy boost. Isotonic drinks are hence popular with middle-distance and long-distance runners, as well as team sports players (eg. football, soccer, hockey) as a quick means to replenish energy.
 

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Complexity level:
6
Project cost ($):
40
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 2 weeks for science fair project
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

None