Normative data for regional sweat sodium concentration and whole-body sweating rate in athletes

J Sports Sci. 2016;34(4):358-68. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2015.1055291. Epub 2015 Jun 12.


The purpose of this study was to establish normative data for regional sweat sodium concentration ([Na+]) and whole-body sweating rate in athletes. Data from 506 athletes (367 adults, 139 youth; 404 male, 102 female) were compiled from observational athlete testing for a retrospective analysis. The participants were skill/team-sport (including American football, baseball, basketball, soccer and tennis) and endurance (including cycling, running and triathlon) athletes exercising in cool to hot environmental conditions (15-50 °C) during training or competition in the laboratory or field. A standardised regional absorbent patch technique was used to determine sweat [Na+] on the dorsal mid-forearm. Whole-body sweat [Na+] was predicted using a published regression equation (y = 0.57x+11.05). Whole-body sweating rate was calculated from pre- to post-exercise change in body mass, corrected for fluid/food intake (ad libitum) and urine output. Data are expressed as mean ± SD (range). Forearm sweat [Na+] and predicted whole-body sweat [Na+] were 43.6 ± 18.2 (12.6-104.8) mmol · L(-1) and 35.9 ± 10.4 (18.2-70.8) mmol · L(-1), respectively. Absolute and relative whole-body sweating rates were 1.21 ± 0.68 (0.26-5.73) L · h(-1) and 15.3 ± 6.8 (3.3-69.7) ml · kg(-1) · h(-1), respectively. This retrospective analysis provides normative data for athletes' forearm and predicted whole-body sweat [Na+] as well as absolute and relative whole-body sweating rate across a range of sports and environmental conditions.

Keywords: electrolytes; regional sweat collection; sweat testing; team sports; youth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Forearm
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sodium / analysis*
  • Sports / physiology*
  • Sweat / chemistry*
  • Sweating / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Sodium