We selected the topic of comparing which gives you more energy, gatorade or water during exercise. We are comparing pulse rates after drinking gatorade and water before and after exercise. Is there another way to measure this or should we consider using and energy drink like red bull. How to measure this is what we need help with. Thanks
What an interesting topic!
I actually work in a lab that has done some exercise physiology, so I have some advice for you.
First of all, when you say the term "energy," the proper way to measure that is by looking at a person's "metabolic rate." Here are a couple links to Wikipedia regarding metabolism and metabolic rate:
Here is a link to a sports nutrition page, which talks a little about using carbohydrates during exercise:
http://www.bodyandfitness.com/Informati ... bolism.htm
This is relevant because it is carbohydrates (sugars) that may provide energy during exercise. When deciding what drink(s) to use, you will want to look at the nutrition facts and the ingredients, so you can discuss what ingredients may be affecting your subjects' performance.
That said, it is difficult to measure metabolic rate outside of an exercise physiology lab. Because of that, there are other things you can measure to look at how much energy a person is using. Heart rate is actually a great start!
Some common "proxies" (substitutes) for measuring metabolic rate include:
1) Heart rate (beats per minute)
2) Respiration rate (breaths per minute)
3) Respiration volume (amount of air per breath)
Respiration rate can be measured by counting a person's breaths over one minute (in the same way you can check his/her pulse). Respiration volume is a little more difficult; but if you're interested, I can tell you how you can measure that as well.
If you're really interested in getting at metabolic rate, the best way to measure that is to measure a person's oxygen consumption. This is a complicated procedure, involving equipment like an oxygen analyzer. Here is a link to one site that talks about measuring maximum oxygen consumption in humans:
Since you probably won't have access to an oxygen analyzer, I think that heart rate and respiration rate are a good start. Remember that you need to have proper controls for your study. People naturally have different heart rates and respiration rates, so you need to control for that. One way to do that is to have each of your subjects act as his/her own control. Here are some suggestions:
1) Make sure you have everyone do the SAME intensity and duration of exercise. The easiest way to do this is to have every subject run on a treadmill at the same speed (intensity) for the same length of time (duration).
2) CONTROL: Have a control with NO DRINK.
3) TREATMENT1: Have people drink water.
4) TREATMENT2: Have people drink your energy drink. Remember to pay attention to the ingredients, and to do background research to see what we already know about how those ingredients affect people's energy during exercise.
5) To have people serve as their own controls, you can start with the baseline, which is heart rate and respiration rate before and after exercise with NO DRINK.
6) To be consistent, you should have the SAME PEOPLE do each of your treatments on a DIFFERENT DAY than their control trials, but around the same time of day. You want to do this for two reasons: (1) because you don't want any residual (leftover) effects of the person's exercise affecting his/her other exercise trials, and (2) because people's metabolism varies with time of day.
I think that should get you started. You can try putting some key words like "exercise metabolism" into search engines to get more information. Feel free to post back with any more questions, especially if anything I said was confusing.