Research Departments Physiology 20200128 SPectators at the Olympics
28 January 2020

The 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics will be held in the midst of Tokyo’s Summer, characterized by hot (>30°C) and humid (>75% relative humidity) climatic conditions. August is the hottest month in Tokyo, and the 2020 Olympics are expected to be the hottest Olympics on record based on the Tokyo climate. As a consequence of the high humidity and ambient air temperature, one might expect environmental impact on health and human heat stress will exacerbate for those competing and spectating at the Olympic Games. For athletes, the combination of environmental heat stress and exercise-induced heat production will result in core body temperature elevations. Increases in core body temperature may result in exertional hyperthermia (>40°C), which is known to cause substantial reductions in exercise performance and increases the risk to develop heat-related illnesses. As a result, much attention is given to the preparation (i.e. acclimatisation and cooling/rehydration strategies) and safety (heat policies) of athletes, whereas the Tokyo conditions are potentially a major challenge for the spectators as well.

Therefore, Yannick de Korte, Coen Bongers and Thijs Eijsvogels will perform a unique study in which the the thermoregulatory responses and cardiovascular strain of spectators while watching a sporting event in a simulated hot and humid Tokyo environment will be assessed. The local newspaper “De Gelderlander” wrote a (Dutch) article about this upcoming study in which the challenges of Tokyo were summarized. More information about this project, and the possibility to take part in this study, can be found here: 

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