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Science Fair Project: Is Gatorade any good for you?

What about all of those young athletes who have been drinking Gatorade? Do they know if this drink is raising their pulse rates more than water? Here is your chance to be a hero and find out for yourself and then tell them all about it.

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.

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.

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.

To do this project you will need the following:

1. Gatorade, amount will depend on how many subjects you wish to test

2. Bottled water, here again the amount required will depend on number of subjects to be tested

3. Glass or plastic measuring cup

4. Step-up aerobics bench

5. Chair

6. Empty classroom

7. Stopwatch

8. Paper cups, lots of them

9. Subjects to be tested, boys, girls, men, women, whatever you choose, about ten of each

Suggested procedures…

1. Obtain parental permission in writing for all subjects if they are under 21 years of age

2. Start your testing on your young male students beginning with Gatorade

3. Pour 250 ml Gatorade into paper cup have your subject drink the Gatorade

4. Subject should sit at rest for 20 minutes

5. You should be able to handle several subjects at a time

6. Take resting pulse rate at the carotid artery (neck) and record on data table . You may also use other methods for testing for pulse rate. Record these rates

7. Have subjects do 8 inch step-ups for 4 minutes at a rate you predetermine so that all subjects are doing the step-ups at the same intensity and rate.

8. Take pulse rate and record again

9. You are measuring the difference between the resting pulse rate and the pulse rate after exercise, after the subjects have had Gatorade

10. Repeat these same steps with all other subjects

11. Conduct water test. On a different day, repeat all of the above with the same subjects using water instead of Gatorade.

12. Average all pulse rate data for each liquid.

13. Assuming that the above tests were for young boys, you may wish to repeat all of the above procedures for young girls, or adult men or adult women. Keep all of your subjects in the same age group. For example if you do boys only, they should all be the same age group. The same goes for young girls. If you opt to do adults, endeavor to select adult men and women of very similar ages. 14. Your heart (pulse) rate is the number of times your heart beats per mi

nute. You can measure heart rate by feeling the pulse - the rhythmic expansion and contraction (or throbbing) of an artery as blood is forced through it by the regular contractions of the heart. It is a measure of how hard your heart is working.

Pulse can be felt at the wrist, neck, groin or top of the foot - areas where the artery is close to the skin. Most commonly, people measure their pulse in their wrist. This is called the radial pulse Taking someone's pulse is easy. It requires no special equipment, however, a watch with a second hand or digital second counter is very helpful. Have the subject turn the palm side of his hand facing up. Place your index and middle fingers of your hand on his wrist. Press your fingers down in the groove between his middle tendons and outside bone. You should feel a throbbing pulse.

Count the number of beats for 10 seconds, then multiply this number by 6. This will give you the heat rate for a minute. If you count 12 beats in the span of 10 seconds, multiply 12 X 6 = 72.

This means the Heart Rate or pulse, is 72 (or 72 beats per minute).

Another popular way to measure pulse rate is by measuring it at the neck (carotid pulse). This is especially convenient during exercise. The formula is the same as above, however, when taking the pulse at the neck, place your fingertips gently on one side of the neck, below the jawbone and halfway between the main neck muscles and windpipe.

A Resting Heart Rate anywhere in the range of 60 - 90 is considered in the normal range. Heart Rate will fluctuate a lot depending on such factors as activity level and stress level.

Many factors influence heart rate. These include emotions, temperatures, position or posture (sitting, standing, laying down), and body size.

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