We compared ad libitum fluid consumption in adolescent (n = 15) and adult athletes (n = 34) exercising in similar environmental conditions (26.5°C, 27.3% relative humidity) and similar modes and intensities of exercise (80-85% of their age-predicted maximum heart rate). Throughout 1 hr of exercise, participants had access to sports bottles containing a sports drink (6% carbohydrate with electrolytes and identical flavoring). Sweat rate (SR) and percent dehydration were calculated from the change in body weight corrected for urine loss and fluid intake (FI). FI was significantly higher for the adults than for the adolescents. SR was also higher for the adults compared with that of the adolescents. Compared with adults, adolescents had significantly lower FI and SR, the combination of which allowed them to meet their fluid needs more closely during exercise. Minimal voluntary dehydration occurred in either group during exercise, possibly because of the nature of the exercise (noncompetitive) or the beverage characteristics (presence of sodium and sweetness) or availability of the beverage.
The authors are with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, 617 W. Main St., Barrington, IL 60010