News items How to keep your cool?

10 July 2024

Tonight, the Netherlands plays against England in the semi-finals of UEFA EURO 2024. It's going to be around 25 degrees Celsius, so both players and fans need to be careful not to overheat. What happens in the body, and how do you keep your body cool?

Thijs Eijsvogels, exercise physiologist:

Some players run as much as twelve kilometers during a match, not including any extra time. The effort causes body temperature to rise because muscles produce heat. The advantage of football is that it’s a form of interval exercise, where players alternate between sprints and rest. This allows the body to dissipate some heat. However, the strain on the body remains high, especially during an intense match like Spain-France last night, where the play constantly went back and forth. Fortunately, it won’t be extremely hot tonight, but it’s still important to limit the rise in body temperature as much as possible. This is also because heat can linger in a crowded stadium.

Cooling down can be done by wearing cooling vests after the warm-up, and ice slush also has a cooling effect. You also see many players quickly running to the side for a sip of water or sports drink during an injury treatment. Drinking enough water is the most important advice. But what is sufficient depends on how much that player sweats. There is no general advice to give, although a large football player probably needs more fluid than a small one. If they want to know exactly, they should weigh themselves before and after a match. This way, they can see how much fluid they have lost and adjust their drinking pattern accordingly.

And yes, the fans in Dortmund also exert themselves a lot and need to take the heat into account. Before and during the Orange March towards the stadium, they move a lot: they dance, jump, sing. A large crowd generates a lot of heat, both outside and in the stadium. So for them too: drink enough water. And an orange cap also helps, of course.

More information

Annemarie Eek


Matthijs Kox

senior researcher IC

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Pauline Dekhuijzen

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