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Science Project 2004
The Effect of Gatorade Vs. Water on 7th Graders' Pulse Rates while Exercising 

Researched by Brittany D.


The purpose of this experiment was to determine the effect of Gatorade vs. water on the pulse rate of seventh graders while exercising.

I became interested in this idea when I was playing a volleyball game and wondered, “Does water or Gatorade give kids more energy?” 

The information gained from this experiment could help coaches and athletes decide on what drink could help maintain the desired pulse rate.


My hypothesis was that seventh graders who had consumed Gatorade would have a lower pulse rate during exercise.

I based my hypothesis on the World Book Encyclopedia on an article about “Electrolytes,” which stated, “the salts in electrolytes replace the salt that we sweat away.” So I thought that the electrolytes in Gatorade would improve the body’s ability to exercise at a lower pulse rate.


The constants in this study were:
* the approximate age of the subjects (12 years, plus or minus 1), 
* the method of taking the pulse, (manually) 
* the amount of time the pulse is taken (15 seconds), 
* the place the pulse is taken (neck)- carotid artery 
* the amount of time resting (2 minutes), 
* the amount of time exercising (4 minutes), 
* the type of exercise (8 inch step-ups), 
* and the intensity of the exercise (25 full steps per minute).

The manipulated variable was whether Gatorade was consumed prior to exercise 

The responding variable was the pulse rate.

To measure the responding variable I took the carotid pulse of the subject for 15 seconds.



1 stopwatch
40 cups
20 human subjects
1 data table
liters Gatorade (Bought in Store)
5 liters Bottled Water (Bought in Store)
1 Metronome
1 Step-up aerobics bench
1 Chair
1 Empty Classroom


1. Obtain parental permission in writing for all subjects
2. Conduct Gatorade test:
  a. Prepare drink for subject
   i. Wash hands
   ii. Pour 250-ml. Liquid into clean, glass measuring dish (which will be purchased from grocery store. Bottled Water and Gatorade are major brands fit for human consumption.)
   iii. Pour liquid into clean, disposable paper cup
  b. Have subject drink 250ml of liquid being tested. Discard paper cup.
  c. Wait 20-40 minutes 
  d. Have subject sit down for 2 minutes in chair
  e. Take resting pulse rate at the carotid artery (neck) and record on data table
  f. Repeat steps d and e
  g. Then, have subject do 8 inch step-ups for 4 minutes
  h. Take pulse rate and record
  i. Repeat steps g and h
  j. Repeat steps 2-10 with all other subjects
3. Conduct water test. On a different day, repeat all of step 2 with the same subjects using water instead of Gatorade.
4. Average all pulse rate data for each liquid.


The original purpose of this experiment was to determine the effect of Gatorade vs. water on the pulse rate of seventh graders while exercising.

The results of the experiment were that the subjects who had consumed Gatorade had average pulse rates per minute of 65 after two minutes of rest and 64 after 4 minutes of rest. The subjects who had consumed water had average pulse rates per minute of 70 after two minutes of rest and 71 after 4 minutes of rest. 

The subjects who had consumed Gatorade had average pulse rates per minute of 122 after four minutes of exercise and 139 after eight minutes of exercise.  The subjects who had consumed water had average pulse rates per minute of 152 after four minutes of exercise and 159 after eight minutes of exercise.

See the table and graphs below.


My hypothesis was that seventh graders who had consumed Gatorade would have a lower pulse rate during exercise

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be accepted.

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if I were to study girls and boys if they would have very different pulse rates.

If I were to conduct this project again the things that I would do to improve it would be to get many more subjects, maybe even 100. I would also use a more accurate way of taking the pulse by using an electronic monitoring device. Eight minutes of exercise isn’t really very much, so I would have subjects exercise about 15 minutes ? perhaps at a lower intensity. 




Exercise is an important aspect of human health. It is needed to keep the body in shape and help maintain fitness. Exercise can have a positive effect on the circulatory system.

Circulatory System

The circulatory system is a closed system. It supplies oxygen to the body and transports carbon dioxide from the lungs. This system carries blood throughout the body. It also helps regulate the body temperature and carries substances that protect our bodies from diseases. Some chemical substances that the system transports are called hormones. Hormones help regulate the activities of various parts of the body.

Parts of the Circulatory System

The circulatory system consists of the heart, veins, arteries, capillaries, and blood. 

The heart is one of the most important organs in the body. The blood is carried from the body to the heart. It goes into the right atria, down to the right ventricle and then is pumped into the lungs. The waste is exchanged in the lungs and oxygen is picked up. The oxygen rich blood now comes to the heart, down the left atria to the left ventricle, then pumped into the body.

To keep your heart healthy, you should exercise. Exercising daily can contribute to an extended life expectancy. Not exercising or not keeping your heart healthy can lead to heart failure and/or heart disease. Some of those diseases are: valvular heart disease, coronary heart disease, and arterial sclerosis. 

Arteries are the blood vessels that take blood away from the heart. When the heart beats, the artery fills with blood. When relaxed, the artery contracts, pushing with enough force to move the blood along.

Blood transports oxygen from the lungs, while it also carries nutrients and carbon dioxide from body tissue to the lungs. Without blood our bodies could not work.

The thinnest and most fragile blood vessels are called capillaries. Tissue releases waste which goes through the wall and into the red blood cells.

 Veins are blood vessels that take blood to the heart. Veins are similar to arteries, but because veins transport blood at a slower pace, they aren’t as strong as arteries. After the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide has happened, the veins receive blood from the capillaries. The veins then transport waste-rich blood back to the heart and lungs. 


The pulse is the rate at which the heart beats; usually measured to obtain a quick evaluation of a person’s health. Pulse is caused by the stretching of arteries. No matter how old a person is, the pulse and heart rhythm should be regular. To find pulse, place fingers on wrist above the thumb. Another place would be at their temples where the temporal artery is located, and at the carotid artery. Basically anywhere a major artery is near the surface, you can feel your pulse.

A child’s pulse rate is faster than that of an average healthy adult. A newborn baby can get up to 140 beats per minute. The normal rate of a seven year old is about 90 beats per minute. An average adult woman would be about 76 to 80 beats per minute. The average of a man would be about 72 beats per minute.


Water is a molecular structure identified as H2O. It is important for health because we need water in our bodies. Also, we need to have water to stay hydrated. Without water, especially when participating in sports or an exercise, we become dehydrated.


Gatorade is a sports drink proven to be a popular product. Gatorade contains dilute salts and electrolytes. These are important ingredients because they replace the salts that we sweat away when exercising. There is also sugar in this substance. This can be a good or bad thing. Though we need sugar in our bodies to provide quick energy during exercise, too much of it could be harmful. 


Exercise is very important to the body’s health. To keep the body fit and healthy, people should exercise. This kind of activity is what can have a positive effect on the circulatory system. 



“Arteries.” 1/22/04.

Bard, Allen J. “Electrolytes.” The World Book Encyclopedia. 1999. pg. 202

“Blood.” 1/22/04.

“Capillaries.” 1/22/04.

“Gatorade. Rehydrate, Replenish, Refuel “11/25/03. 

“Gatorade. Water is Not Enough” 11/25/03.

“Pulse.” 1/22/04.

Sabatino, Dominick. “Pulse.” World Book Encyclopedia. 2002. CD-ROM.

Stevens, Charles F. "Nervous System,” World Book Encyclopedia, 20

“The Circulatory System.” 1/15/04. 

“The Heart.” The Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia. 1991. pg. 310

“Veins.” 1/22/04.

“Water.” What is water made of? 12/5/03.



I would like to thank the following people for helping make my project possible:
* My parents for helping and supporting me
* Mr. Newkirk for helping me through my project
* My subjects for participating in my project
* The teachers who let their students out of class to be my subjects
* My teachers who let me out of class to conduct my experiment

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